Transit Center Moving Along

Two Buildings Pegged For Early 2014 Finish

Posted: July 22, 2013

Construction workers with Premier Concrete in Manassas lay gravel at the Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation’s new maintenance building Wednesday. The building and a new administrative facility at the same site, 475 E. Washington St., have been under construction since December. (Photos by Michelle Mitchell)
Construction continues on the new Harrisonburg Department of Transportation Facility. The department has been at its current location for 30 years.
HARRISONBURG — For optimal viewing of the city’s 85-piece bus fleet, Reggie Smith hops in a cart for a ride up a dirt hill.

“We’re goin’ golfing,” he says.

Since December, the Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation’s property at the corner of Vine and East Washington streets has been an active construction zone as crews work to erect two new buildings and convert a pair of reservoirs into a bus parking lot.

The lot is behind two city water towers. It is largely obstructed from view unless you’re atop a hill on the property closer to Old Furnace Road, a short golf cart drive away from the existing headquarters — a single building — on the property.

When finished, the new $16 million transit center — costs are basically split between the city and grants — will give the department more space and provide better efficiency at the city-owned, 13-acre site, said Smith, its director.

Among recent work, the reservoirs were paved July 5 for school and city transit buses to park there, wrapping up that part of the project.

“We didn’t realize how many buses we had until we got them all in one place,” Smith said. “Five years ago, the city’s drinking water was in [there].”

In 2009, the newer of the two water tanks, with a capacity of 8 million gallons, replaced the last reservoir, which could hold 16 million gallons of water. A water treatment plant on Grandview Drive, just west of the city limits on U.S. 33, feeds both towers.

All Clear Next July

The larger pieces to the department’s expansion are several months away from completion, though on schedule by Winchester-based Shockey and Sons Inc. and numerous subcontractors.

Adjacent to the reservoirs is the construction of a two-story administrative building, which will house the department’s offices, a bus driver room and more for about 160 employees, including dispatchers. It is on track for a March finish, Smith said.

Under way nearby, behind current headquarters, is work on a new 14-bay, 25,000-square-foot maintenance facility. New features in it include a chassis wash and overhead crane, enabling workers to lift salt spreaders, Smith said.

That building should be completed in January. Seven-hundred-feet of storm water piping will also be installed around the garage area to help prevent runoff onto Kelley and Washington streets and Ralph Sampson Park.

The transportation department has been at its current location for 30 years. If more expansion is needed in the future, Smith said space is available alongside the new buildings.

Crews are expected to tear down the existing 19,000-square-foot transportation center for extra parking by next July, Smith said.

“I’d like to think a year from now,” he said Wednesday, “I won’t be fighting this [construction] every day.”

Smith is scheduled to present a progress report on the expansion to City Council on Tuesday.

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


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