RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond is nearly a week into its major Broad Street Repaving Project, and Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Bobby Vincent said the work is running ahead of schedule.
Construction officially began on Monday, and is slated to continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until Tuesday, June 21, only stopping for rain or mechanical issues. Vincent also noted Thursday work has been stopping from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for morning commuters.
“Broad Street didn’t get in the condition that it’s in overnight, and with any construction project that you do, it’s going to be a little bit of a deconstruction phase that people have to go through,” he said. “We’re trying to do our best to put our best foot forward to lighten that burden on our businesses and our homeowners along that stretch of road.”
Road work is happening in five phases, beginning with the section between 3rd Street and Belvidere Street, and ending with the section between Hamilton Street and Staples Mill Road. However, Vincent told 8News that the repaving isn’t the only construction happening along Broad this summer.
“The streetscape project is going to begin at the end of this month and run from, basically, this summer through the Fall of 2023, where we will be concentrating on the replacement of sidewalks throughout the corridor, the installation of tree wells, as well as putting in new signalization at certain intersections, and providing crosswalks,” he said.
Funding from the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation totaling $750,000 will go toward work on the new traffic-signal system spanning from Thompson Street to Staples Mill Road.
Government data shows that in 2019, there were 13 pedestrian-involved crashes on the stretch of Broad Street being tackled in this repaving project; five in 2020; and eight in 2021.
“It’s more about the safe passageways for our pedestrians, as well as the control of our vehicular traffic to make sure that things are as safe and aesthetically pleasing for our jewel — being Broad Street — as possible,” Vincent said.
In addition to streetscaping and repaving, 30 days after each phase of road construction is complete, the City of Richmond will paint the median Pulse Bus Only lanes red, between Thompson and Foushee Streets. According to the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC), this color is the international standard for transit-only traffic, and will alert other drivers to vacate the dedicated lane to help improve efficiency and pedestrian safety.
“The red bus lanes themselves are coming from a grant, where we’ve been working with the federal government, the state government, in order to get as much additional funding as possible, and that is approximately $3 million,” Vincent said.
He also noted that the cost to pave Broad Street is about $3.5 million, while the streetscaping project will cost approximately $6 million.
“We’re trying to pave our streets, such as Broad Street, our major arterials, every 10 years, and so Broad Street, over the years, the last time that Broad Street was paved in certain areas was back in 2009,” Vincent said. “Traditionally, we have not had the funding to be able to pave all of Broad at one time. We’ve had to do it over a three-year stretch.”
Vincent told 8News that costs for these projects are also being covered by an increase in the city’s Capital Improvements Program budget and Central Virginia Transportation Authority (CVTA) dollars from the state.
“We don’t want to wait for a major thoroughfare like Broad to get to the points of being riddled with potholes and/or cracks because,” he said. “Then, the paving project becomes much more extensive than what it’s going to be for us on this particular go-around.”