Locals confused about major construction project | News
HANOVER, VA (WWBT)- VDOT is moving forward with a major project that should ease traffic headaches in Hanover County. But in order to eliminate rush hour back-ups, the intersection of Staples Mill and Route 54 has to be completely reconfigured. Drivers think the project didn't need to be this big or cost this much.
This project is going to cost more than $5 million. Drivers say a traffic light would solve the rush hour delays, but VDOT says the solution isn't that simple.
More and more people are moving out to this part of the county near Montpelier. Many of them use Staples Mill to get to work in Richmond.
Stop by Renee's Barber Shop near Staples Mill and Route 54 and people will tell you, traffic can back up for miles every evening.
"It's a nightmare," said Sharon Perry. "Basically, the people that live on Route 33 can't get out of their driveways."
The problem is more drivers use 33 than 54. But right now, drivers on 33 have to stop and wait for traffic to clear before they can turn. Drivers on 54 can breeze through the intersection without stopping.
Perry has lived off 33 for 25 years and has watched traffic get worse.
"They need to do something," she said. "They need to put a light there or something. I've seen too many accidents."
The solution to this traffic headache might seem simple on the surface, but installing a traffic light or changing the stop signs would not comply with VDOT standards.
So instead VDOT will spend more than $5 million to reconfigure this entire intersection and add turn lanes. When complete, Staples Mill will intersection with 54 in a different spot.
VDOT says a traffic light wouldn't work because there's not enough traffic here and there have not been enough accidents.
County leaders say this wide-ranging project may be using a sledgehammer to kill a fly, but this should finally ease the traffic problems that have been persisting for more than a decade.
"It's a nightmare and they need to do something," Perry said.
Hanover transportation engineers say VDOT could make an exception at this intersection. But doing that could become a slippery slope every time a project doesn't meet its statewide standards.
The county has been trying to solve these traffic issues for nearly 15 years.
Construction on the project is scheduled to start in January. The project should be complete by November of next year.
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