Colonial Heights gets money for Temple Avenue signal improvements
By JAMES PEACEMAKER JR., Managing editor
Mar 4, 2014, 14:19
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — This time next year if you encounter nothing but green lights on Temple Avenue, don’t mistake it as divine intervention to improve your commute.
It will actually be due to a half-a-million-dollar effort to improve transportation on the busy stretch of road from the Boulevard to Charles Dimmock Parkway.
Colonial Heights City Council approved a deal with the Virginia Department of Transportation on Feb. 11 to accept $495,000 from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to pay for the entire project.
The city did a similar project of signal coordination on the Boulevard a few years ago.
Director of Public Works and City Engineer Chuck Henley said VDOT asked the city to accelerate the projects. VDOT releases the funds but the city is responsible for the work.
The signal coordination is among several improvements planned for Temple Avenue that have been paid for without using city funds.
“We’re able to make these improvements in that corridor to help keep growth of the city and the region moving,” Henley said.
Council members approved the initiative unanimously and agreed that it was a good idea.
“Signal coordination along Temple Avenue is long overdue,” said City Councilman Milton Freeland.
Henley said the money is needed to install equipment that will let the signals talk to each other wirelessly and sense how much traffic there is.
Henley said the project could take 9 to 12 months but it is unclear because it depends on when VDOT releases the money.
The signal work would be done well before the Interstate 95 shift planned by VDOT that would create a roundabout on Temple Avenue. The signals will be removed from the current interchange when that work is done in a few years.
The intersection at Hamilton and Temple will undergo changes when the Kroger is built at the old courthouse location, but Henley said they will coordinate that work so that efforts are not wasted.
City Council also also accepted $650,000 for bridge repairs from the Regional Surface Transportation Program.
A lot of these funds will go to improvements on the Sherwood Avenue bridge over Swift Creek near the northern end of the Boulevard, Henley said.