By: Michael Campbell, News Editor
PRINCE GEORGE – County leaders unanimously approved additions to their Six-Year Improvement Plan during their most recent meeting, green-lighting plans to tackle one of Prince George’s problematic intersections.
During a public hearing that saw no comments from residents, Virginia Department of Transportation representative Donna Bryant and supervisors went over the new project added to the plan, which outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction development or study for the next six years, the intersection of Jefferson Park Drive and Middle Road.
The project would see a traffic circle, or roundabout, replacing the current intersection at Jefferson Park Drive and Middle Road, with the project seeking to add more traffic capacity given the increased traffic in the area due to growth at Fort Lee, more subdivisions locating along Jefferson Park Drive and many travelers using State Route 630 as a link to Courthouse Road.
According to VDOT traffic data, the corridor sees an average of 11,000 to 14,000 cars daily.
The traffic circle wouldn’t be built overnight, or even within the next financial year, as the project’s inclusion on the county’s SYIP allows for funds to be identified and earmarked for the project over the course of the next six years, with Bryant telling supervisors and residents that this project is tentatively scheduled for a July 2025 advertisement date.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $1.5 million, but VDOT expects that to increase to some degree as it continues to move through the channels of developments.
Bryant noted that July 2025 is being looked at for the roundabout project because current funding allocations to the project will only total approximately $127,000 per year, putting the project on an eight-year timeline for funding.
Prince George Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Robertson briefly spoke to the lean financial situation the SYIP is currently in, noting that “we have moved all of our money into certain projects because money has dried up,” with the consensus of the county and governing body that Middle Road and Jefferson Park Drive were “the next worse roads.”
Supervisors were also briefed on a second project that would bring improvements to the intersection of Pole Run Road and Prince George Drive.
According to Bryant, the Prince George Drive project, which calls for the addition of a left and right turn lane leading to the intersection of Pole Run Road, is considered “first priority” in the county’s plan.
The VDOT representative stated that the project is currently fully funded at a cost of just over $1.5 million and, according to documents from the agency, scheduled for an advertisement in February of 2019.
These projects join two others on the secondary side of the county’s SYIP. According to VDOT’s database, preliminary engineering is currently underway on an improvement project at the intersection U.S. Route 460 and state routes 629 and 630 in the area of Bull Hill Road. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin during the 2021 fiscal year, with a total cost of completion estimated to be $3.1 million. So far, as of the 2017 fiscal year, the project has received approximately $374,000, or 12 percent, or its required allocation.
The second project, which is also in the preliminary engineering stage of development, would see capacity added through reconstruction at the intersection of Temple Avenue and Puddledock Road near the county’s western border with Colonial Heights, an area that has seen significant commercial growth over the past several years, with increased passenger traffic as people shop and visit businesses along both roads and the addition of the currently under construction Tri-City Emergency Center just a short distance from the intersection.
VDOT traffic data shows approximately 27,000 to 33,000 cars make their way through the intersection of Temple and Puddledock daily.
According to VDOT, right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin sometime during the current fiscal year, with construction slated to start during the 2018 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
In total, the project is estimated to cost $2.9 million upon completion.
With the board of supervisors unanimously approving the adoption of the SYIP, a draft version of the commonwealth’s collective plan is created and made available for public comment, with the final version of the SYIP being adopted during the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s regularly scheduled meeting in June.