New John Rolfe Parkway segment to open Wednesday morning

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A traffic alert in Short Pump, where a road designed to reduce congestion may actually create a little more of it Wednesday morning.

The newest segment of John Rolfe Parkway, between Church and Three Chopt Roads, is scheduled to open at 9:00 a.m. Henrico crews say if you're in a rush Wednesday, it might be best to avoid the area for just one more day.

Everett Chesley owns what's called a "replicar" of a 1952 MGTD, and the one time he takes it out the battery appears to go dead.

EVERETT: "The car doesn't have a lot of miles, doesn't get driven a lot."
ANDY: "Making you the first official person..."
EVERETT: "The first official person, on the whole, about 10 feet."
ANDY: "10 feet is better than no feet, right?"

Everett coasted ten feet onto the sparkling pavement known officially as the John Rolfe Parkway, a new segment of which opens to the general public Wednesday morning.

"People will notice a big difference," said Rob Tieman of the Henrico Department of Public Works.

The new segment runs alongside the older and much more narrow Pump Road. Its main goal: to reduce traffic in the heavily congested far West End.

"They needed to do something, 'cause I've seen the congestion get worse," said Janine Caruso, who drives the area frequently.

But opening a new road is not always a simple task.

"Unfortunately, it's not like switching a light, it will take some time," Tieman said.

Crews will have to move barricades, paint lines, and have police make sure drivers know where they're going.

"It's okay, once it opens up I hope it's gonna be good," said driver Mona Malik.

Added Tieman, "We cannot be more thankful to our citizens and the patience they've shown. I think there's a good understanding of the benefits this project will bring the community."

Everett's ordeal, by the way, had a happy ending. It turns out, the replicar's battery had a little juice left after all. And tomorrow, he might be back...this time, for more than just ten feet.

Again, the new segment opens Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., with some slight delays expected. John Rolfe Parkway now extends from Church Road, north, to Broad Street. A segment from Church Road, south, to Ridgefield Parkway is expected to be complete by spring 2011.

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