Hold That Connection

City Likely To Wait On Last Phase Of Erickson Project

Posted: February 15, 2014

Traffic moves along Erickson Avenue on Wednesday. The city will likely not pursue construction anytime soon of the fourth phase of the Erickson Avenue-Stone Spring Road connector leading to the west city limits on Erickson. (Photo by Preston Knight)

HARRISONBURG — It’s not easy turning down $2 million, but the city is likely to do so for its last leg of the Stone Spring Road-Erickson Avenue connector.

Because of an already big enough stack of projects to fund in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, City Manager Kurt Hodgen is “leaning against” recommending City Council accept an expected $2 million revenue-sharing grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The grant, which must be matched with $2 million in local dollars, would go toward the final piece to the connector: basically from the entrance to Walmart on Erickson Avenue to the western city limits, widening it to a five-lane roadway with a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalk.

Official costs have not been calculated for the project.

The first three phases realigned the intersection of Pear Street and Erickson; linked the road from South Main to the original Stone Spring Road, near Beery Road; and connected South High and South Main streets.

It’s all part of a larger road that extends in both directions into Rockingham County, to U.S. 33 near Boyers Road to the east and U.S. 33 at Erickson to the west. Because the county is more focused on the eastern part, Hodgen said it also makes sense for the city to delay its fourth phase.

County Administrator Joe Paxton said, “That’s not anything in our plans in the near future.”

As for the rest of the county’s portion of the project, some of which is handled by the state, the extension should be done by the end of the year, creating a widened road from where the city left off near Peach Grove Avenue to U.S. 33 (Spotswood Trail).

Hodgen has informed City Council that it shouldn’t be concerned with VDOT denying future grant requests from the city if it turns down the Erickson funding. And, while the funds could go to another city project, they would still require a $2 million match, Hodgen said.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or pknight@dnronline.com

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