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Henrico County proposes new interchange at North Gayton Road

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Henrico officials met with state and federal officials to talk traffic congestion and safety concerns in the Short Pump area as well as the benefits of a proposed interchange at North Gayton Road.

A new traffic solution for one of the most crash-prone areas in Virginia could be coming to the Short Pump area within the next five years.

Henrico County proposed a new interchange at North Gayton Road that officials say would ease traffic congestion in the area.

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Henrico resident Elyssa Haynes, who lives nearby, said she sits in nonstop traffic every day between the highway and her house off North Gayton Road. She said the proposed interchange could cut her transit time by about 10 minutes.

“There’s a lot of stop-and-go traffic, people going to Target or Trader Joe’s or Short Pump Town Center,” she said. “It’s great to have all these businesses, but it does provide a lot of congestion.”

The proposed interchange, she said, would be a welcome and overdue change.

“What used to feel like Black Friday congestion has become an everyday occurrence,” Haynes said. “In line with development, traffic has increased exponentially in Short Pump over the years, and infrastructure has failed to keep up.”

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The next step of the project is state and federal approval. The county is working on an interchange study, which will be sent to the state by the end of the year, according to county officials.

On Wednesday evening, Henrico County officials gave a presentation to Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st, and Thomas Nelson, Federal Highway Administration Virginia division administrator.

There have been 1,851 reportable crashes in five years on Interstate 64 from Gaskins Road to the Goochland County line, and on West Broad Street from Sadler Road to the Goochland line, according to the Henrico Police Department. Seven of those crashes resulted in fatalities, 492 resulted in personal injury and 1,352 resulted in personal property damage.

“This has been a cry for the people of Henrico but also a cry for all of the metropolitan area,” said Henrico Supervisor Tommy Branin at the Wednesday meeting. “We have the dubious distinction of having the highest accident rate from (Interstate 64) to Pouncey Tract Road … more than anywhere else in the state of Virginia.”

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The county will publish an online survey this month to gauge the public’s feedback on the project. If the project is approved by the state, the next step would be design and environmental studies, which could take two to three years.

“This project is the top priority for transportation in our county,” said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas. “The funding is not going to be an issue as far as the local dollars.”

County officials, along with Wittman and Nelson, drove together from the county headquarters to a fire station near Short Pump to experience the traffic problems.

“Even if Henrico County never builds another house in Western Henrico, this issue is going to continue to increase and get worse,” Branin said. “It’s critical that we get this … safer on Broad Street.”

abryson@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6945

Twitter: @AnnaBryson18

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