The long-awaited widening project on Cook Road in York County has finally begun.
Gail Whitaker, spokeswoman for York County, said the construction was originally slated to begin in February, but because of poor weather conditions had to be pushed back to this month.
Construction on the road began last week, she said, and is expected to continue until April 26.
During construction there will be lane closures with flaggers out to direct alternating traffic, Whitaker said. Work is being done from morning to late afternoon.
The purpose is to help create a safer and more welcoming area for pedestrians, such as joggers and cyclists. The expansion does not qualify as a bike lane, however, because it is only creating a two-foot shoulder whereas a bike lane is required to be wider.
The official bike lane width was not possible because of historic resource considerations, the official bike lane width was not possible.
The area that will be expanded spreads between Five Forks and Surrender Road, which is heavily traveled by foot traffic as well as a popular bicycle route, according to a memorandum from the county.
Previously the combination of narrow pavement and heavy vehicle traffic created safety concerns for the area and discussion on needs for a wider road began in 2007. Initially the road was intended to be a separate bicycle path that would cross over National Parks Service land but after a variation of different designs, officials deemed this was not feasible.
The new design will add the shoulder expansion on each side of Cook Road and Ballard Street.
Total design costs, done by consulting firm Rummel Klepper and Kahl, were $42,031. The widening’s projected expense estimate is $430,000.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will contribute $180,000 to the project and another $180,000 will come from the Capital Improvement funds.