January 6, 2013
It's a project that has been in development for years, and now the first stages of the Old Lynchburg Road improvements have begun.
The Fry's Spring Neighborhood has seen a big increase in car and pedestrian traffic in the past 10 years, and that has caused a little more danger on the road. It's also had a drainage problem. When it rains, the road gets flooded with water coming from multiple directions.
Now, these problems will finally be fixed.
"The whole thing is we need safety for everybody," said Jeanne Chase, who has lived on Old Lynchburg Road since 1977.
Chase became very involved in the Old Lynchburg Road project several years ago when she watched a little boy get killed by a driver coming around one of the five blind spot bends on the road.
"That image will stay in my mind forever," she said. "From the start of our fence to that stop sign, that's been where most of the injuries have happened and I just don't want to have to call 911 again to report somebody needs help."
The improvements to the neighborhood are fully funded and include a storm drainage system, sidewalks and a bike path. Chase says with these changes, the road will look safer and be safer for all types of traffic.
"I hope it will bring more of a higher alert for our drivers, saying, 'Hey, you're going through a neighborhood, please be careful and mindful.'"
It's taken years to get this project going, partly because of land acquisition. After the design process, the city of Charlottesville needed to acquire land from the nearby Fry's Spring Beach Club. The club and the city fought over how much a half-acre of land is worth. The two sides settled the debate in May.
"It's taken a lot of pressure from citizens and neighbors to make it happen and finally a couple of years ago we got the money to make it happen. We've done all the designing and now we're actually doing the work which is really exciting," said Charlottesville city councilor Dave Norris.
The black fencing on the road now is a sure sign that the improvements are, in fact, finally happening and the project is expected to finish by the end of 2013.
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