Transportation officials hope a two-phase study will identify ways to improve Lafayette Boulevard.

The second phase of a Lafayette Boulevard study is set to kick off.

The first phase of the study focused on transit. The second phase will look at roadway improvements, such as expanding to four lanes and options for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Area Planning Organization approved the $125,000 second phase study at Monday’s meeting. The first phase also cost $125,000.

Lafayette Boulevard, the so-called “southern historic gateway” to Fredericksburg, is “the last unimproved corridor in the city,” Erik Nelson, Fredericksburg’s transportation administrator, said Tuesday.

The road initially served as a connector between Spotsylvania County and the city and eventually became part of U.S. 1. It was converted to a local roadway with the construction of Jefferson Davis Highway and Interstate 95. Lafayette still runs partly in the city and the county, so any improvements would involve both localities.

The study covers the entire stretch of Lafayette, from Sophia Street in the city to U.S. 1 in Spotsylvania.

Previous plans have called for expanding the two-lane stretch of Lafayette to four lanes.

Nelson said that may not be feasible because it likely would be “cost prohibitive.” He said acquiring rights-of-way would include the cost of buying 50 to 60 houses.

According to Nelson, other options will be considered, with one being the conversion of the road to three lanes, with one side having two and the other remaining one lane. Much of Lafayette Boulevard has a third turn lane running between the two primary lanes.

Nelson said any improvements will include adding a pedestrian and bike path.

The study will analyze traffic counts and crashes, along with looking at intersections.

Nelson said one consideration will include the possibility of converting some intersections to roundabouts, which would eliminate left-turn lanes.

The first phase of the study is addressing such things as potential satellite parking and shuttle service for rail users, along with analyzing potential FREDericksburg Regional Transit bus service improvements.

The first phase of the study is expected to be completed by September, and the second phase should be ready by January.

The hope is to have the studies complete and projects identified for the next round of the state’s Smart Scale program, which scores and ranks transportation projects for funding.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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