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Broad Street paving project hindering business, causing driver confusion

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Congestion has been slowly building along West Broad Street in the city of Richmond as a major repaving project continues for the sixth week.

The new asphalt is down in some areas, but the lack of lane markings is confusing many drivers. Right now, the project is in the first phase of paint preparation and measurement in westbound lanes from 3rd Street to I-195 Bridge.

With graduations at the Siegel Center next week, many wonder whether it will be an even bigger problem.

NBC12 reached out to Richmond City Public Works but did not hear back about a timeline. Crews out on the roads told NBC12 off camera that it’s a tedious process with no set deadline yet.

In the meantime, many businesses along Broad Street are hurting

“I feel like there should’ve been a better strategic plan for business owners down here,” owner of RVA Corner Store Dee Deans said. “It actually dropped our business about 5%.”

“As you can see, I’m the only one here, so nobody really shows up,” another business owner, Harold Brown with VIP Cuts, said.

They say less parking and more detours means fewer customers making their way into stores.

“Imagine what customers feel because you can’t turn, you can’t go around, you can’t make a U-turn, you have to go all the way down Broad. It’s just an inconvenience,” Deans said.

Businesses are also having a harder time getting products into their stores.

“A couple of weeks ago, they were doing construction, and none of our vendors could get through, so we had to reorder products, and it’s just really affecting it in a negative way,” Deans added.

“It’s been like that for almost three weeks now, so business definitely slowed down for everybody,” Brown said.

Brown says the missing lane markers only add to the confusion.

“It can get dangerous, too. I’ve seen cars go in and out all day. They couldn’t see the lanes,” he said. “A lot of people, even still, people don’t know where the bus line is - it’s all confusing, people are blowing horns, and it creates congestion.”

Brown questions why the project is happening in the first place.

“I don’t think it needed it because they had just done it maybe like four years ago,” he said. “The pavement wasn’t that bad.”

This work has also affected GRTC bus stops and routes. In a statement, it says the paving project appears to be ahead of schedule. The work was initially expected to wrap up by June 21.

Visit GRTC’s website for a look at the phases of the project.

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