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Road Work Delay

PRINCE EDWARD — The Route 15 project to expand a section of highway just south of Farmville has taken a slight detour.

Originally scheduled for completion May 2, it looks like it will be completed in July.

“The project got a little bit behind right at the beginning,” detailed Virginia Department of Transportation Residency Engineer Kevin Wright. “The contractor (Branscome Construction from Richmond) had some issues getting materials from some of their suppliers.”

One of the first stages of work is to get the draining work and utilities relocated and installed after the traffic has been shifted, Wright explained. They had some problems getting some of the materials needed to perform some of that early work.

“So that early work started slowing them down. Then, of course, we kind of had that wet season that set in and still hasn’t let up for us yet, so they have been somewhat behind schedule from the get-go and then the weather that we’ve had this winter, they have not been able to complete the work that they had planned,” he said.

Wright noted, “They actually give us a schedule of work activities that they plan to do all through the winter and, of course with the snow and the rain, the soil was saturated with water and they could not get in there and do the excavation that they needed to do and do that sub-surface work. So that’s put them behind at this point and now we are working with them, meeting with them on a regular basis, trying to get additional resources, get other crews and people put on now that the weather is hopefully breaking.”

Wright assessed that they’re catching up as quickly as they can.

He also explained they try to anticipate some weather and delays in setting completion dates.

The project stretches roughly from the intersection of Commerce Road and Route 15 to just past Dominion Drive. When complete, it will include a three-lane section of divided highway with one south-bound and two north-bound lanes. It will ultimately include a left turning lane into Granite Falls Boulevard. (The project will have room for the fourth lane should one need to be added.)

“And I know there’s been some question as to why there is not one there during construction and it’s just the width in there as we kind of move traffic…to one side while we’re building the other side,” Wright stated. “There is just not room enough to get that left turn lane and needed storage to be able to turn left onto Granite Falls. So we’ve had to kind of temporarily do away with that left turn lane during construction, but it will be there when we finish up.”

It’s also the reason that no left turn is allowed at the intersection of Route 15 and Granite Falls Boulevard now.

“Without any storage there…you could have a car or two wanting to turn left and if there was a lot of traffic coming north bound which is…where we see the major traffic delays, if somebody couldn’t turn left, then it would back up…all the way through the project on that south-bound lane,” Wright said. “So without any storage…you could create some significant backups there on the project.”

Granite Falls Boulevard was opened last year in hopes of diverting school traffic off of Eagle Drive.

If there are any changes in the traffic pattern on Route 628 through the school properties they will wait until the Route 15 construction is completed.

“Then we can go in and take a look. Once people have had an opportunity to find their preferred traffic pattern, then we can go in …(and) take a look at what those patterns look like and see if any changes are needed to traffic patterns on 628,” Wright explained.

That would likely occur in the fall.