After months of delays, crews have applied the final layer of asphalt at the intersection of Ironbound and Longhill roads.
Roadwork crews began applying the top asphalt layer onto a stretch of Ironbound Road running from Richmond Road to Middle Street Thursday morning.
As of Friday afternoon, Public Works Inspector Clark Wallace said he expected all paving work on Ironbound Road and a stretch of Longhill Road from James Blair Middle School to Kiwanis Park to be finished by the end of the day.
Work at the intersection began last May and was expected to be completed by Nov. 30. City engineer Aaron Small said cold, rainy weather combined with scheduling conflicts with Basic Construction and Curtis Construction, the two contractors responsible for the work, delayed the project.
Crews needed dry weather with temperatures at 50 degrees and rising for the top asphalt layer to be installed properly, he said.
In a prior interview, Small said the impending opening of the middle school paired with the recent opening of the Aldi grocery store necessitated the work, but that plans to improve the intersection had been in place for years.
After paving work is finished, crews will return next week for final road striping. In the meantime, temporary reflectors have been put in place, Small said. Poles and mast arms for traffic signals at the Ironbound and Longhill intersection have also been ordered, and are being delivered from their manufacturer in Nebraska. Sidewalks and curbs along Ironbound and Longhill roads are all completed and open to the public.
About $3.5 million was budgeted for the first phase of the road project in the city’s Capital Improvement Program. The remaining two phases of the project won’t be completed until $5.2 million in Virginia Department of Transportation Smart Scale funding is issued to the city in fiscal year 2022.
The second phase of the project will add dual left turn lanes onto Richmond Road and coordinate the traffic signals at Richmond and Longhill roads. The third and final phase will add underground wiring, streetlights, an asphalt bike trail and a 5-foot wide concrete sidewalk from Longhill Road to Treyburn Drive.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.