Sunday, July 21, 2024

The road work isn’t over at this Williamsburg intersection. Here’s what’s going on

New traffic lights flash yellow on Ironbound Road. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)
New traffic lights flash yellow on Ironbound Road. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)

It’s been about two-and-a-half months since the traffic light at the intersection of Longhill and Ironbound roads switched on.

But the road work isn’t done yet.

While the road project was originally slated to be completed by the end of November, poor weather has delayed construction.

“The rain’s kind of holding us up big time,” Williamsburg City Engineer Aaron Small said.

The road and utility construction will now likely be finished in December, Small said. Before rain this fall, the project was both on budget and on time.

“We’re planning on having everything finished… it will just be a few weeks later than our deadline,” he said.

Another delay with the mast arm manufacturer means the traffic lights will continue to hang from temporary poles until the New Year.

“It’s not that big of a deterrent, but it is disappointing not to finish it on time,” Small said.

What’s in the works right now?

A large portion of road work was done before James Blair Middle School opened in early September, but crews are still chipping away at the project.

Last week, contractors worked to relocate gas lines alongside the road to make room for a new turn lane. Crews have also cut down some trees on the CVS Pharmacy side of Richmond Road.

Contractors will build a new lane on the side of Ironbound Road closest to the CVS Pharmacy. The lane will run from Richmond Road to Longhill Road and increase the road width in that direction to three lanes.

A design map for the Longhill-Ironbound Road intersection project shows changes contractors have made to the area. The map is slightly different than final design plans. The right turn lane along the CVS Pharmacy side of Ironbound Road actually will extend all the way from Richmond Road and not taper in mid-way, as shown on the map. The median in front of the school board offices is also not nearly as big as shown on the map. (WYDaily/Courtesy Aaron Small)
A design map for the Longhill-Ironbound Road intersection project shows changes contractors have made to the area. The map is slightly different than final design plans. The right turn lane along the CVS Pharmacy side of Ironbound Road actually will extend all the way from Richmond Road and not taper in mid-way, as shown on the map. The median in front of the school board offices is also not nearly as big as shown on the map. (WYDaily/Courtesy Aaron Small)

The traffic lights will continue to be on a regular, fast-paced cycle, although they may blink yellow or red during certain construction activities.

The lights will be synced with the Richmond Road traffic light once the permanent mast arms go up, Small said.

Near the end of the project, the intersection will be repaved and the lines will be repainted with reflective stripes.

Keeping the work zone safe

Small said there have been a “lot of user errors” with the new traffic pattern, much of which stems from driver inattention.

Some drivers have driven in turn lanes instead of using the straight lanes to go through the intersection.

Other drivers have not heeded the traffic signals when they flash: blinking yellow means proceed with caution, while blinking red means stop then proceed with caution.

“Another problem we have is speeding through that area,” Small said. “It’s not that big of an intersection — you’re not going to save much time speeding through it.”

Small said construction workers will not be out during holidays because of increased traffic, especially during holiday events such as the Grand Illumination.

“We just ask people be patient and pay attention,” Small said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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