• Richmond Highway Widening Moves Ahead with Environmental Assessment

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    Richmond Highway Widening Project continues to move along with completion of the Environment Assessment. VDOT released the Environmental Assessment (EA)  and held a public hearing last night to review the findings with the community.  More than 100 people attended the public hearing at Mount Vernon High School among which were several Chamber members, other business owners, and elected officials.
     
    Currently about 40,000 vehicles use Richmond Highway daily. With an hourly rate of about 1,700 vehicles during peak hours.  Traffic volume is expected to increase to almost 54,000 vehicles daily by 2025 with peak traffic hours having 2,400 vehicles. (p 2.9)
     
    The new VDOT engineer responsible for the project is Dan Reinhard, P.E. (dan.reinhard@vdot.virginia.gov) and he conducted the meeting.  Anissa Brown (Anissa.Brown@vdot.virginia.gov)  conducted the Environmental Assessment and explained the findings during the hearing.
     
    Ms. Brown highlighted these findings from the assessment:
    32 business parcels with 46 individual businesses would be affected
    6 residential parcels with 5 houses and 12 trailers would be affected
    2 church properties would be affected
     
    Widening Richmond Highway for the four miles being studied would “potentially require approximately 22 acres of permanent right-of-wa y to construct the proposed improvements.” Of the needed acreage, 11.1 acres would be commercial property; 3.7 acres residential property; 2.2 from utilities; and 5 acres recreational and open space.  This land would be permanent converted to transportation use. “ (p. 3.8)
     
    Other commercial properties would be impacted by temporary right-of-way required for construction. This would be places for VDOT to stage equipment and materials needed for construction. Temporary right-of-way would be short-term, for the duration of the construction work, and returned to the previous land use upon completion of the project.
     
    While the road design is not final, the interactive map gives a good idea of which businesses will be impacted by the widening.  Now is the time to contact VDOT and your Supervisors to voice your concerns before the final design is released in January / February of 2019.  

    One of the design features VDOT talked about last night were pedestrian underpasses or sidewalks that go underneath Richmond Highway. These proposed underpasses would be placed where the highway crosses Dogue Creek and Little Hunting Creek. VDOT is seeking public comment on this idea.
     
    Because the right-of-way acquisition is the most expensive part of the project, VDOT is actively looking for ways to minimize the number of businesses impacted and the Environmental Assessment says, “The number of commercial displacements may possibly be reduced in the design process.” (p. 3.8)
     
    Representatives from VDOT will attend the Chamber’s February Business Breakfast and show the final design for the highway.
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