POWHATAN – Three Powhatan businesses were recently recognized for initiating and completing a road improvement project on Anderson Highway at their own expense.
Benchmark Construction, Colony Construction, and Luck Stone were honored with a proclamation at the Powhatan County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, May 24 for the work they did in early 2021 on the Stavemill Crossing Development turn lane extension. The supervisors unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing the businesses for coming together to extend and improve the turn lane in front of the development on Anderson Highway. The project had an estimated value of $10,000, according to the proclamation.
The original Stavemill Crossing plans from 2014 called for a turn lane into the development, but did not have it connected all the way back to the light at Stavemill and Route 60, said Bret Schardein, assistant county administrator. While additional shoulder pavement was laid down, it was not a full lane’s width the whole distance and was not striped as a turn lane.
“Sometime after that, VDOT went in and extended the turn lane by re-striping the extra pavement width. This allowed someone turning off of Stavemill onto 60 heading east to get into the turn lane without merging into the thru travel lanes on 60,” he said. “However, because they were restriping the existing pavement, there was a bump out of unpaved section that would narrow down the turn lane, causing most vehicles to have to either put right passenger side wheels off the pavement or put their driver’s side wheels into the main thru lane.”
Don Balzer, co-owner of Benchmark Construction, said he would regularly drive by and was bothered by how unfinished the turn lane looked. He said his company was the developer that realigned Stavemill Road many years ago and put a tapered lane that ran into the existing highway.
“It was bothering me because it looked like somebody had made a mistake and nobody tried to correct it. I hated seeing it because I live on Stavemill Road. On my way to my office or if I was going into Midlothian, I would see it every day,” he said.
In addition to the unsightliness of the turn lane before it was fixed, Balzer pointed to the safety hazard it presented.
“It was more of a safety hazard than it looked bad. If you turned into that lane or you came through that light doing 45 mph and you are in that third lane, all of the sudden it would run out of pavement. Now it doesn’t; now you can keep going to the entrance almost at Bojangles,” Balzer said.
The sight finally irked Balzer so much that he decided to act. He reached out to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and learned they were aware of the project but didn’t currently have funds to fix it. So he talked with Colony Construction and Luck Stone to see if they would like to help him fix the problem. Balzer reached out to the county and VDOT and offered their services at no charge, which was approved.
Benchmark Construction coordinated the project with VDOT and provided labor for the road cut out and project, Balzer said. Colony Construction contributed asphalt, conducted traffic control, and provided labor for the project, and Luck Stone provided shoulder stone for the project. VDOT finished the project off by providing the white striping.
Jamey Epps, Luck Stone Powhatan Plant manager, said the company agreed to supply the stone for the project because it was a service they could provide for the Powhatan community.
“It was the right thing to do. I think it helped with the traffic. It helped with the flow. Hopefully it makes it easier for our neighbors to get in and out of those establishments,” he said.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.