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New hospital won't congest Spotsy Parkway

September 14, 2009 12:36 am

IHAVE a Spotsylvania Parkway update. A few weeks ago, a reader expressed concern about traffic the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center will bring.

The Virginia Department of Transportation followed up with some projected traffic counts. In 2008, about 6,500 vehicles a day traveled on the parkway. VDOT estimates the hospital and the new road connections with the U.S. 17 Bypass will add 4,000 cars and trucks a day to the parkway, bringing total traffic to 10,500 vehicles a day.

The road was designed with the higher, projected traffic counts in mind, said Tina Bundy, VDOT spokeswoman for the Fredericksburg District.

To give you a sense of scale, upward of 65,000 vehicles a day travel State Route 610 in North Stafford.

Speaking only as a non-engineer, I think the difference will be noticeable but should not slow the free-flow of traffic. I'm on the parkway at rush hour Monday to Friday, and it's my favorite road in the Fredericksburg area. Why? The road is nicely landscaped, and compared to the rest of Northern Virginia's roads, it is empty. Every afternoon I take a right on the parkway from U.S. 1 and feel like I've fallen through a portal to the Shenandoah Valley.

I don't think that bucolic feeling will change too much after the hospital opens. It would take far more than 4,000 vehicles a day.

Dear Kelly: The storage lane project at the intersection of Gordon Road and Chancellor Road in Spotsylvania has the outward appearance of the slowest, most inefficiently run project known to mankind. Days go by with a dozen pieces of expensive equipment (front-end loaders, drop-bed loaders, trucks, etc.) sitting idly with no workers in sight. I can only imagine that the same workers are on a number of projects and are being juggled when time permits from one project to another project. Does this project actually have a project plan and somebody managing it? Weeks went by and finally a few utility poles got moved, then weeks went by and some fill got brought in, then weeks went by and they tamped it down. Now no activity again. If this is stimulus money, it is not too stimulating.

--David Ziner, Spotsylvania

Before I share what happened, I'll lead with the most important part. This project will be done in November.

The intersection of Gordon and Chancellor roads will have a new traffic signal, and there will be new turning lanes. This should make navigating this intersection safer for vehicles approaching in all directions.

But back to your question. It is a Spotsylvania County project, being carried out as a public-private transportation project. No stimulus funds are involved. The county is managing the project, and English Construction is the project contractor.

Becky Golden, Spotsylvania's director of capital projects, explained in an e-mail why you noticed a gap in work: "The citizen's observations of delay has been due to issues during construction with utility conflicts not known until we were under construction. The engineering plans were done prior to entering into the PPTA contract. English Construction performed as much work as possible, but then had to wait on Dominion [Virginia] Power to set new poles and switch over their power lines," Golden wrote.

Kelly Hannon is The Free Lance-Star's transportation reporter. If you have questions, send them to Getting There, c/o The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; or you may fill out the Getting There form on the Web at fredericksburg.com.





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