HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Elected officials and other local leaders gathered on Wednesday morning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal some major changes to Oakley Lane in Henrico.

That changes come in the form of a road re-alignment that spans nearly half of a mile of roadway between South Holly Avenue and Oakleys Place. As well as the installation of guardrails, improved road shoulders, widened lanes and a new bridge over the creek. 

The road had been closed for reconstruction after it saw a number of accidents in the past. Local leaders say that what was revealed today should help make the Oakley’s lane intersection safer for drivers, pedestrians and community members.

Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and Fairfield District Supervisor, Frank J. Thornton, was joined by Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson and County Manager John A. Vithoulkas who explained the project was a long time in the making. 

According to the speakers, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors first began discussing the potential enhancements to Oakley Lane in 1996.

“This was an investment for this community,” Nelson said.

An investment that Nelson said will improve safety and access for drivers in the area. The project is also expected to address the frequent flooding of Gillie Creek which has caused road closures in the past. 

Ashley Bennet, a community member who lives nearby, said the flooding from the road used to be almost unimaginable. 

“It was horrible! I could see the water from my backyard, and it would be there for days at a time,” Bennet said. “And you actually couldn’t turn out of this side entrance right here you had to go around.”

The upgraded road will also include improvements to drainage and sewer infrastructure to better help with flooding.

“It’s easy access, you know? I don’t have to go all the way around,” Bennet said. “I can cut through Oakley’s and go to Autbon — go to my favorite shops. Go to White Oak. Go to Target. It’s just easy access.”