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Hanover, Henrico discuss road and infrastructure needs

aerial shot of I-64
Henrico County
Interstate 64 at Gayton Road is getting a new diamond-shaped junction.

Officials from both counties discussed funding opportunities for upcoming road and pedway projects.

This week, supervisors in Henrico and Hanover counties discussed increasing investments for their respective transit infrastructure.

Just last month, Henrico unveiled a major roadway improvement plan in Short Pump, including multiple traffic interchanges along Interstate 64 in Western Henrico, a new diamond-shaped junction at North Gayton Road and modifications at West Broad Street.

The plan itself received the stamp of approval from the Federal Highway Administration last month and could cost around $200 million to $300 million to complete over the next several years.

Henrico’s Board of Supervisors made the first of many steps toward seizing funds for the project with the application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant.

The grant program’s description states that it supports regional and national transportation projects that strengthen supply chains, spur economic development, and improve safety and daily life.

Todd Eure, Henrico’s assistant director of public works, said the county has identified the Short Pump Area Improvements as an eligible project. Eure said the county intends to apply for a matching $50 million in funds and will pursue other sources of local, regional and state funding to complete the project.

“We've already extended transit along Broad Street into Short Pump, which actually helps us in applying for these grants,” Eure said. “We're looking for all forms of transportation to serve the area.”

In addition to the federal grant, Henrico’s supervisors unanimously supported the county’s participation in the Virginia Department of Transportation's revenue sharing and transportation alternatives program.

Revenue sharing could match 50% of the county’s actual costs for up to two projects for a maximum of $10 million. The transportation alternatives program could pay 80% of Henrico’s estimated costs for multi-use trail projects up to $4 million.

Public Works Director Terrell Hughes told VPM News that these VDOT grants not only increase the county’s ability to maintain its public roadways, but improve collaboration across municipalities.

“We're constantly interfacing at a regional level about project funding opportunities.” Hughes said. “Whether it’s PlanRVA or the CTVA, we’re always looking at working together.”

Although applying for grant funding can be competitive from locality to locality, Hughes said the county prioritizes projects that affect not only its residents but the region as a whole. Areas like Staples Mill, Willow Lawn, parts of Broad Street and Laburnum are areas he said the county’s looking to invest in.

“That’s a big focal point for our grant efforts, but we haven’t forgotten areas our residents have asked for,” Hughes said.

He noted the ongoing extensions made to the bridge on Magellan Parkway, which should be near completion in the fall, as well as the groundbreaking of a multimillion-dollar sidewalk along Hungary Road as examples of requested infrastructure investments.

Officials in Hanover addressed their own set of infractures needs during a meeting of the board of supervisors in July. The board analyzed a list of proposals delivered by Mike Flagg, Hanover’s public works director, during his presentation of the 10-Year Road Funding and Transportation Alternatives Plan.

The resolution provides a list of project priorities identified by county planners and committee members. Funding for each project largely consists of contributions from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority as well as the county’s general funds.

Some of those projects include the Pole Green Road widening project, which was projected to cost the county over $25 million when it was approved last year. According to Flagg, though, cost estimates for that project have risen significantly.

“The estimate on this project has gone up substantially,” Flagg told the board. “The yearlong delay with the level of inflation that we're currently proceeding has caused us to raise our project costs significantly.”

In addition to ongoing projects, Flagg also addressed county needs raised by board members and residents. This year in particular, residents have been more vocal about the need for pedestrian infrastructure, an area Flagg said the county anticipates competing for state and federal funds.

“We've gotten a lot more requests and needs for pedestrian improvements than we can anticipate funding,” Flagg said. “We hope working with planning to come up with more of a ranking and prioritization system for bike and ped improvements.”

Flagg says the 10-year plan also includes funding for major traffic studies that support areas of improvement identified in the county’s Comprehensive Improvement Plan, which will be on the board’s agenda for a public hearing come August.

Lyndon German is VPM News' reporter covering Henrico and Hanover counties. As a Mechanicsville native and graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he hopes to bring a firsthand perspective of the challenges each locality faces.