Panel OKs $2.2 million bid for long-touted 'road diet' on Sperryville Pike | Latest News |

2022-06-30 02:45:25 By : Mr. Barret Chou

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A long-touted ‘road diet’ on Sperryville Pike will add a roundabout at Blue Ridge Avenue (left) and decrease travel lanes to one lane in each direction to the traffic circle on Virginia Avenue.

Project graphic for ‘road diet’ coming to Sperryville Pike in the Town of Culpeper.

A town panel this week endorsed a $2.27 million price-tag for the long-touted ‘road diet’ on Sperryville Pike that will reduce travel lanes in the high-density area near Yowell Meadow Park that has seen its share over the years of fatal pedestrian incidents.

The safety-focused project has been a long time coming, and has ballooned in price.

In 2015, when the idea first originated, the initiative was slated to cost $1.2 million.

Construction costs have increased significantly in seven years, agreed Culpeper Public Services Director Jim Hoy, in responding to why the price had gone up so much.

However, he added, the project was expanded to include construction of a mini roundabout at North Blue Ridge and Sperryville Pike/Evans Street as well as pedestrian upgrades to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and required stormwater management infrastructure.

“This additional scope resulted in an increase in estimated project cost, all of which VDOT has supported,” Hoy said.

Back in 2015, construction was projected to start in 2019. Now, contingent on final town council approval, contractor scheduling, procurement of materials and weather permitting, construction is slated to start late summer, or early fall of this year, Hoy said on Wednesday.

The delay was due initially to a complete lack of companies interested in building the project, followed by a contract termination in 2021 with a company that was going to do the work, and then administrative backups for re-bidding.

At its meeting this week, the Culpeper Town Council Planning & Community Development Committee agreed with the staff in awarding the 2022 contract to Chemung Contracting & General Excavation, based in Mitchells.

Chemung’s bid exceeded the low bid by more than $350,000, but the low bidder is apparently not pre-qualified by VDOT, according to a town report.

The federal Highway Safety Improvement and state-funded initiative, in addition to decreasing travel lanes, will add turn lanes along Sperryville Pike with raised islands, multi-use paths, sidewalks and crosswalks.

The project area is around a mile—from West Street to just north of Aspen Street.

Optional project features could include flashing beacon crosswalk and additional street lighting for safety. The improvements are anticipated to be constructed over a 12-month period rather than a 10-month period as initially scheduled, according to the town report.

VDOT has agreed to increase overall funding for the project to $3,029,921 to cover all phases (preliminary engineering, right-of-way acquisition, construction, and agency expenses), plus a 10% contingency.

The Town is required to cover VDOT expenses (more than $16,000) related to work overseeing the initial contract. Additionally, the contract with town consultant, A. Morton Thomas, will be extended to cover 12 months of construction inspections at an increased cost of $24,973.

Sperryville Pike, from the Blue Ridge intersection, will be reduced from two to one lane on each side all the way to the traffic circle at Virginia Avenue during construction.

The project will also install new sidewalks from the Virginia Avenue traffic circle north, connecting to existing sidewalks at the Riverdale housing development.

Once finished, continuous sidewalks will be in place along Sperryville Pike from Main Street to Yowell Drive. Final approval of the contract bid goes July 12 to Town Council.

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A news reporter in Culpeper since 2000, I got my start in the business as a youngster delivering papers after school for the Elizabeth Daily Journal in urban New Jersey.

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A long-touted ‘road diet’ on Sperryville Pike will add a roundabout at Blue Ridge Avenue (left) and decrease travel lanes to one lane in each direction to the traffic circle on Virginia Avenue.

Project graphic for ‘road diet’ coming to Sperryville Pike in the Town of Culpeper.

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