Some Chesterfield neighbors worried about cost of traffic circle

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Neighbors want it and a state study supports it. A roundabout is set to control traffic brought on by Clover Hill High School. But the project has the school system paying to replace road improvements it just made.

Chesterfield police are helping to guide traffic as two schools off of Old Hundred Road -- Clover Hill High School and Swift Creek Middle School -- let out for the day. But next year there will be a more permanent fix, when officers are replaced with a roundabout.

After-school traffic flows much better than it did on the first day of school a month ago, though some drivers are still oblivious to the school zone. While filming this report we caught an SUV flying through the intersection which was being controlled by a police officer. Neighbor Jack Schiltz doesn't think the sometimes heavy traffic warrants an all-the-time roundabout.

"We can get out from our subdivision very easily," explained Schiltz as he talked about how traffic wasn't an issue. As he points out where he thinks the traffic circle will go, "virtually the entire area- from the signs all the way over to this yield sign here," he worries about the spending. The school system just paid more than a million dollars for road improvements.

In order to make way for the roundabout some of the pavement and the median will have to be torn up. It won't be salvaged. On top of that, the school system will invest another $238,000 for the traffic circle.

"It's certainly something that maybe some better pre-planning should have been done," said Brock Swartz who's excited about the circulating path.

"It is safer for the flow," said Swartz. "It slows people down because you have to take your time going through the circle."

The traffic circle will sit a few hundred feet from the new Clover Hill High School.

"But on the other end of Clover Hill High School on Genito Road traffic also backs up before and after school. Though right now there are no plans for traffic control," said Swartz.

Even though Old Hundred Road will be changing the message stays the same: watch out and slow down.

The Chesterfield Public School System had budgeted and was prepared to install streetlights at the intersections near Clover Hill High School. But after traffic studies done by the county and VDOT, the board of supervisors voted unanimously for a roundabout.

The roundabout should be installed by the fall of 2011.

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