Taking Action

After years of ‘utter confusion,’ Forest Hill Avenue construction nears its end

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – You’ve been asking when will the road construction on Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond finally be done?  8News has learned the end is near.

Drivers have been dealing with the construction, orange cones and shifting traffic patterns for nearly three years now. The planning for road improvements on Forest Hill Avenue actually began back in 2009. 

Since the road work began to add a raised, landscaped median for left turn lanes, drivers and local business owners say it’s been difficult to steer through.

Victoria Zachary owns Flowerama which sits right along the Forest Hill Avenue construction area.  She said, “It has been two or three years of utter confusion.”

Frustrated drivers tired of sitting in traffic dangerously cut through the shopping center parking lot where the flower shop is located. Zachary said, “I am surprised there haven’t been more accidents.”

She also told us the road work has even damaged Flowerama.

Zachary said, “When they were really tearing up this section, a truck coming by threw a large rock, broke the entire picture window on the side of the store.”

“Very inconvenient at all times of the day,” said local resident Greg Gambosch. He told us it’s a parking lot come rush hour.

“The lines will be all the way down Forest Hill back towards the interstate,” said Gambosch.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Richmond’s Capital Improvement Projects Administrator Lamont Benjamin. 

He told us the work which includes adding bike lanes and sidewalks is on its final lap.

“We are anticipating the project to be completed at the end of the year at the latest,” said Benjamin.

If you feel like the construction has taken longer than promised, you’re right. Benjamin admits there’s been delays.

The work was originally slated to finish late 2020. “It’s typical on an urban project, where you will run into things you don’t foresee such as underground, conflict with utilities,” said Benjamin.

Those delays are not only costing taxpayers their time but their money too.

Benjamin said, “As a project goes on, there’s construction oversight, so those costs are increasing. We are anticipating we may come over budget but not significantly.”

He says they usually plan for some extra expenses when budgeting for a construction project. Still, we are told the City won’t really know the final cost until it gets closer to the end of the project.

Benjamin believes the wait will be worth it when it’s all said and done.  He tells us the road will be a lot safer for the 33,000 cars that travel it daily.

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