Route 360 to expand near Bell Creek intersection

Headaches over traffic may lessen in Hanover County after a few construction projects are completed. But in the coming months, be on the look out for work zones.

VDOTIn Mechanicsville, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to increase the number of lanes along Route 360 from three to four in each direction between Interstate-295 and the proposed new location of the Bell Creek Road intersection at the current entrance to Walmart from Mechanicsville Turnpike.

“Primarily, the goal is to add capacity by putting in more through lanes,” said Cynthia Crouch, project manager.

A service lane will be created in front of the businesses along Route 360 primarily on the side of the Best Buy to provide access to those and force more cars onto Bell Creek Road.

Once construction is complete, drivers will have to turn onto the new side of Bell Creek Road and turn into a service road in order to enter Best Buy’s parking lot. Crouch said the idea is to direct traffic off of Mechanicsville Turnpike.

Though Bell Creek Road is currently separated once it hits Route 360, after construction the road’s alignment will join the southern part of the street at a new intersection so that traffic can move across Mechanicsville Turnpike.

The roughly $9 million project will enter the construction phase early in the summer of 2015, lasting two years. Crouch said the project is aimed at reducing congestion in that area of Mechanicsville.

During construction, there will be some lane closures, but the amount is not yet known. Crouch said VDOT is trying to limit the amount of time lanes are closed and the goal is to maintain traffic as much as possible by doing most of the work during non-peak hours.

At this time, Crouch said they have completed the right of way and acquisition aspect of the project. During that phase, Crouch said a few homes and storage tanks were removed.

Now VDOT is relocating the utilities at Bell Creek Road and along the targeted areas of Route 360. The relocation of utilities should be finished in late spring or early summer of 2015, Crouch added.

In another project in Mechanicsville, the Virginia Department of Transportation is replacing an old bridge over the Chickahominy River on Route 360.

The Hanover bridge was built in 1923, widened in the early 1940s and then again in 1970. VDOT’s structure and bridge division deemed the bridge and three others “structurally deficient” during a recent inspection, said Keith Rider, area construction engineer.

“It’s better to just replace them than spending dollars maintaining them each year,” Rider said.

The Mechanicsville bridge is part of VDOT’s larger effort of restoring three other bridges in Henrico along Route 360, which began last summer and is estimated to cost roughly $10.2 million to replace all four structures.

The project is currently in its second phase — the eastbound side of the bridge is in the works of being removed and replaced while traffic is being switched to the median.

“The project has been phased to maintain two travel lanes in the east and westbound directions,” Rider said.

At this point in the project, VDOT staff has received a few complaints from commuters. For instance, Rider said while they were working on the median, traffic was shifted and a driver said they had difficulty seeing oncoming cars around a temporarily placed stop sign along Mechanicsville Turnpike headed towards Henrico. The problem was fixed by moving the location of the stop sign.

On the other hand, Rider said last week a citizen complimented VDOT on its efforts saying they “were doing a great job.”

Rider said he expects the project to be finished by next spring.

Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 9:36 am