Henrico Board of Supervisors on Wednesday night approved a $48 million plan to alleviate some of Short Pump’s most congested roadways. Construction of the North Gayton Road extension could get underway in as little as a couple weeks. Project details were presented to the public, and though most citizens seemed to agree the project is […]
Henrico Board of Supervisors on Wednesday night approved a $48 million plan to alleviate some of Short Pump’s most congested roadways. Construction of the North Gayton Road extension could get underway in as little as a couple weeks. Project details were presented to the public, and though most citizens seemed to agree the project is much needed, not all agreed on its implementation.
Oversize aerial photos of the project lined the lobby of the Henrico County Board Room as tensions flared inside. Residents who live in the lush countryside off Kain Road and Bacova Drive, expressed their concerns over the traffic and disruption the North Gayton project will bring to their properties. County officials say as many as 50 property owners will be subject to right-of-way acquisition for the road and new utility easements.
One such resident, Emily Waller, voiced her disapproval of the county’s decision to cut the new road through the middle of her property off Kain Road, which has been in her family for five generations. “We were [living in] Short Pump before Short Pump was cool,” Waller said. “It’s been a perfect place to raise a family and a beautiful place filled with wildlife.”
Under the proposed road alignment, North Gayton Road would sever Waller’s home from an adjacent pond on her land where her family fishes. She’s concerned about contamination from road runoff as well as responsibility for the body of water.
“I’m concerned with the liability of a pond in my backyard I can no longer control,” Waller said to Board members while holding back tears.
Other residents cited concerns over cut-through traffic and road improvements to the predominantly rural existing routes, most of which were addressed on a case-by-case basis by Henrico County Department of Public Works Director Tim Foster, who gave a presentation outlining the project details.
Foster says the North Gayton project will greatly reduce the number of cars on Pouncey Tract Road, currently estimated at 11,000 vehicles per day at its intersection with Kain Road. That’s approximately the number of cars that travel nearby Nuckols Road on a daily basis.
Ted Linhart, owner of Dominion Chevrolet, was in attendance at the meeting and spoke in favor of the 2.1-mile stretch of road. His dealership is adjacent to the proposed bridge over Interstate 64 that will connect West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road once completed. “This is a project that desperately, desperately needs to be done. I appreciate your leadership on this,” Linhart told the Board.
The road, expected to carry 9,600 vehicles when it opens in 2011, would be four lanes wide and include a raised, grassy median. Grading on both sides would allow for future expansion to six lanes, as that number is expected to almost double to 18,000 vehicles by 2032. Should an interchange be constructed between North Gayton and Interstate 64 in the future, Foster says that number could balloon to 64,000 vehicles per day because of the shear access the exit would provide.
Bacova Road will be realigned because of the steep 30-foot embankment required near the I-64 bridge (see map below). The 287-foot long bridge would initially be four lanes but designed for expansion to six, just as the rest of the road.
Because of the traffic, new traffic signals would be installed along the route at Blue Ocean Lane (next to Dominion Chevrolet) and at its intersection with Pouncey Tract Road. Once crossing Pouncey Tract, Gayton becomes Shady Grove Road, a two-lane route that will be widened to four lanes as part of the project. A signal will also be installed where Shady Grove turns into Twin Hickory Road, near Deep Run High School.
Conduit would be installed on North Gayton at its intersection with both Bacova Drive and Kain Road to allow for the easy addition of traffic signals in the future, if traffic conditions merit their installation, according to Foster.
The 48.4 million project is being designed and built by contractor English Construction, who recently completed the nearby I-295 flyover project. 100% funded by Henrico County, the road project was approved in a 2005 Bond Referendum.
Additional enhancements to the roadway that are currently being reviewed by County officials include a 10-foot asphalt bicycle and pedestrian path on the south side of the route and upgraded turn lanes and median breaks for Shady Grove United Methodist Church and Christ Church Episcopal, both of which are located on Pouncey Tract at the new road’s future intersection.
The Board overwhelmingly approved the project, with only Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia O’Bannon voting against the measure (view the video here – 1:26)
Construction of the North Gayton project could begin in as soon as a few weeks. The work is scheduled to be complete by December of 2011.
We’ve created the map below to give you a better visualization of the planned roadway and improvements to the area.