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Public speaks about Fall Hill widening plan.
Date published: 11/27/2012
The planned Fall Hill Avenue and Mary Washington Boulevard extension projects got favorable reviews at Monday night's public meeting.
"It's a good plan," said Tyrone Rennick, who lives with his wife in Riverwalk, a newer housing development in the Bragg Hill area where Fall Hill will be widened. He said the road needs to be widened.
He also likes the plans for a multi-use path that will connect to a growing network in the city.
"It gives you a sense of community," said Rennick, who came to the meeting to see what impact the project would have on him and his wife. She works at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Fredericksburg, near Mary Washington Hospital. So he figures she'll like the Mary Washington extension, which will connect to Fall Hill Avenue near the Rappahannock Canal bridge.
Rennick was one of about 80 people who showed for the public meeting at James Monroe High School to learn about the projects, estimated to cost $45 million.
Fredericksburg and transportation officials were on hand, along with displays of plans and maps.
Doug Fawcett, the city's director of public works, told those who showed for the first of three presentations that the widening project has been in the plans "for many, many years."
He said the preliminary plans call for the work to be done from mid-2014 to mid-2016. That timeline could change as the designs make their way through the process.
The Fall Hill project will expand the lanes from two to four, which will connect to the section that has already been widened. There will be a shared-use path on one side of the road and a sidewalk on the other. The Interstate 95 bridge also will be replaced to allow for the lane widening.
The new bridge also will create more room beneath it so I-95 express lanes can be built in that area. Construction is under way to add the new electronically tolled lanes in the median of I-95 from Dumfries to Garrisonville. Eventually, transportation officials want to extend the express lanes to Massaponax.
The Mary Washington Boulevard extension will be a divided four-lane road and will connect to Fall Hill Avenue near the Rappahannock Canal bridge.