Traffic lights changing along Grace Street

By Gene Petriello - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Some big changes are coming to part of Grace Street in downtown Richmond.

It all comes after some serious accidents happened — one even involving a police officer.

Were talking about the stretch of Grace Street between 1st and 2nd streets.

It seems like a small area, but in that small area, there have been plenty of accidents. Now the city is making some changes, starting Wednesday.

If you drive along Grace Street at 1st and 2nd streets, you'll notice the traffic lights are only on the side of the road. City crews will begin removing these lights and replacing them with new lights that hang over the street.

Earlier this year, there were two accidents in the same day along Grace and 2nd streets — one where a car ran into a building.

Back in 2010, a Richmond police officer was hurt when a driver ran a red light at 1st and Grace.

Sharon Robinson who works near the intersections has seen plenty of accidents. Some worse than others. "A car ran the light, hit a mini-van and flipped it over. And, I was walking down as it was flipping close to me."

She is glad the city is making some changes to the lights. That's what we need because I think some people are just blind and they don't see the lights on the side."

The City Transportation Engineer says it is going to cost a little more than $250,000 for the work. It is all being funded through state and federal grants. He says, the work at the two intersections is not being done just because of the recent accidents.

"The timing is there. This grant has been in the works for years. We average 3 or 4 accidents a year there. Last year we had a spike (at the intersection of Grace and 2nd Street)," says City Transportation Engineer Thomas Flynn.

The city plans to get rid of all the lights on the side of the road within the next 3 to 4 years. Several other projects like the one on Grace Street is underway right now.

The city will also be putting in walking countdown signs, new wheelchair ramps, and more.

During the work, you can expect to see some temporary sidewalk and traffic lane closures.

The project will last until the middle of August.

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