RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond residents and those who travel on Broad Street can expect major transit impacts starting April 11, with repaving work to be underway through at least June 21.
GRTC announced this week that construction will be ongoing 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will only stop for rain or mechanical issues. The repaving project is scheduled for five phases, beginning with the stretch of Broad Street between 3rd Street and Belvidere Street.
According to GRTC, paving will start in the westbound lanes, and then change to the eastbound lanes at the end of each phase before moving on.
Many of its buses will be on detour off of Broad Street, with some stops closed. A spokesperson for the transit company said that GRTC is in the process of identifying alternative stop locations.
Local retailers along the stretch of road that will soon be under construction are concerned about the impacts on business.
“When the pandemic happened, everything shut completely down. So we had to kind of change the way that we operated,” Dakota Williams with Ledbury said. “We just kind of have to brainstorm on kind of how to get around it or how we have to change the way that we do things.”
8News also spoke with employees at MOD & SOUL and Verdalina, two nearby clothiers, who said that it seems construction in the area is constant and preexisting parking issues can be a deterrent for potential customers.
“Parking can be difficult, even for myself, and I work here,” Williams said. “It’s just a really tight street anyway. It’s a very small street, even with all the lanes. But, I mean, you have the entire bus lane in there. You can find parking. But finding parking near where you’re actually going can be difficult.”
The construction will include paving, milling and paint work. Thirty days after each phase is complete, the City of Richmond will paint the median Pulse Bus Only lanes red between Thompson and Foushee Streets. GRTC noted that this color is the international standard for transit-only traffic. The hope is that these red lanes will alert other drivers to vacate the dedicated lane to help improve efficiency and pedestrian safety.
“For our store, in particular, just the way that we operate, I don’t see it causing much concern for it. A lot of our business is done online,” Williams said. “But the surrounding businesses? Absolutely.”
Williams also noted that the noise of constant construction may be an issue for nearby residences, as well as other retailers.
“This street is so alive. It’s really like a living, breathing thing, almost, depending on what day of the week it is, depending on what’s going on outside,” he said. “Most of the storefronts across this area of Broad Street have fairly large windows covering up. It’s just not a door and a wall. So a lot of sound penetrates into those buildings.”
Many of the local employees with whom 8News spoke on Wednesday said that they were not even aware of this construction project until it was mentioned to them by the WRIC reporter. They also said that they were hopeful the work would be completed in a timely manner because of its 24/7 schedule.
The planned phases are as follows:
- Phase 1
- Westbound: 3rd Street to Belvidere Street, April 11-14
- Eastbound: Belvidere Street to 3rd Street, April 14-20
- Phase 2
- Westbound: Belvidere Street to Meadow Street, April 20-29
- Eastbound: Meadow Street to Belvidere Street, April 29-May 6
- Phase 3
- Westbound: Meadow Street to Arthur Ashe Boulevard, May 6-12
- Eastbound: Arthur Ashe Boulevard to Meadow Street, May 12-18
- Phase 4
- Westbound: Arthur Ashe Boulevard to Hamilton Street, May 18-25
- Eastbound: Hamilton Street to Arthur Ashe Boulevard, May 25-June 1
- Phase 5
- Westbound: Hamilton Street to Staples Mill Road, June 1-10
- Eastbound: Staples Mill Road to Hamilton Street, June 10-21
GRTC noted that these dates are approximate and subject to change.