Have you ever spent time down at Huguenot Flatwater on the rope swing? For at least the past 20 years, that tree has been a constant source of fun and entertainment for thrill-seeking river rats on the James River. Continue reading
Riverside Drive from Huguenot Flatwater to the Robert E. Lee Bridge is designated as a ‘scenic byway’ and the speed limit is designated to be 25 mph. It is one of the most popular place to walk, run or bike in Richmond, yet the roadway is narrow and has little to no shoulder space and there are no sidewalks for refuge.
The subject of sharing Riverside Drive has been brought up before and brought several good comments, but as we prepare for spring and an increase in traffic to the area, it has come up again.
The removal of trees and natural habitats along the James River and scenic Riverside Drive for the construction of the replacement for Huguenot Bridge is complete, but the major three-year reconstruction has just begun.
The James River Park System has a sign just east of the bridge that may answer many questions about how the construction impact the James River Park land below. See the video as NBC12’s Andrew Freiden talks with park manager Ralph White:
So what happens to the wildlife during the construction, and what will happen afterwards? For the answer, we went to James River Park manager Ralph White — a respected voice for river-lovers.
“I’m very supportive of this whole-hearted effort — let’s do it right,” White said. He said VDOT and construction company Skandia listened during the planning process — and they’ve been sensitive to wildlife from Day 1.
See the rest of the interview and the video at www.NBC12.com
Work could begin on the new Huguenot Bridge before the end of 2010. The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $35 million contract today to replace the 61-year-old, two-lane span over the James River that connects River Road on the north side and Huguenot Road on the south side.
The new structure will have one 12 foot lane and one 10 foot shoulder in each direction, according to VDOT. The 10 foot shoulder will function as both an emergency lane and a lane to allow bicyclists to safely use the bridge. In addition, there will be a five foot wide sidewalk on each side for pedestrians. The existing bridge is one lane in each direction with a pedestrian sidewalk and no shoulders. Recent traffic counts indicate the bridge carries an average of 28,000 vehicles per day.
The new bridge will be built in two phases. The first phase will involve constructing the western half of the new bridge while traffic is maintained on the existing bridge. During phase two, traffic will be shifted onto the new section of the bridge that was built during phase one. At that time, the existing Huguenot Bridge will be torn down and the second half of the new bridge will be constructed. VDOT will maintain one lane of traffic in each direction during construction with occasional lane closures during off-peak hours.
Construction should be completed by June 2013. Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc. was the low bidder for the job.
Sounds like the plans are more inclusive to bikers, runners and hikers than the plans for the Boulevard Bridge 10 years ago. What do you think?
For many, the James River isn’t about the rapids and rocks. Solitude and serenity draws many to the calmer waters above the Falls of the James and Huguenot Flatwater is the place to launch for a quiet paddle.
If you need a destination, Bosher’s Dam is about a mile up river from Huguenot Flatwater and is a scenic, peaceful and pleasant spot to enjoy the James.
See more including a full slideshow at Richmond.com