RICHMOND, (WRIC) – James Bell has lived in the Oxford neighborhood of Richmond’s Southside, located near the intersection of Huguenot and Cherokee Roads for over 30 years – and says it’s challenging to turn onto Huguenot Road during rush hours. 

“The people that live on the other side of Cherokee Road, it’s almost impossible to get out there in the morning without possibly getting hit,” said Bell. 

The intersection is known to be busy, with flashing signals having been installed not too long ago, but city leaders say it’s time to further improve the safety of the intersection by adding reflective traffic lights, countdown pedestrian signals and accessible ramps with sidewalks.

The good news is construction begins next week. 

Since the start of 2022, there have been six reported crashes at the intersection. Bell told 8News he has witnessed a few. 

“In fact, I’ve had that big light pole lying in my yard and [have] seen several accidents out there that were fatalities, you know, and having the traffic signals out there, it’s got to help it,” Bell said.

However, construction usually brings traffic — and according to Bell, with Cherokee Road being so narrow, some residents of the neighborhood is worried about backups as most have to back out of their driveways.

“I can see that to be a problem for them,” Bell said, “Some say it’s going to create more traffic and people that live on that side of Cherokee Road…they’re all for it.” 

Bell’s neighbor, Lennis Echterling, said that ever since moving in over two years ago, he and his wife try their hardest to avoid the intersection. 

“We’d rather take a mile out of our way to go around down Arrowhead here and on to Riverside Road and then get on Huguenot,” said Echterling.

Echterling said soon enough, that will change. 

“We recognize if there are going to be some improvements in construction in traffic lights, that we’ll have to put up with a bit of annoyance like that, it will be worth the wait. 

The traffic improvements are expected to be complete by spring 2024.