Jun 3, 2024 - News

Forest Hill sewer repairs cause commute chaos in South Richmond

A road closed sign with a bunch of traffic cones blocking off a lane and a makeshift lane made for both sides of traffic.

Where the Forest Hill traffic fiasco begins. Photo: Sabrina Moreno/Axios

A project to replace sewer main lines that collapsed on Forest Hill Avenue back in April won't be done until December.

Why it matters: It's disrupting people's commutes, leading some residents to cut through parking lots and neighborhoods — which can be dangerous — and making it harder to access South Richmond's only Walmart or Publix.

The big picture: The work began about two weeks ago and requires the closure of the eastbound lanes between Joe Brooks Boulevard and Hathaway Road, according to the Department of Public Works.

  • That means all traffic has to share the westbound lanes for the next six months. The outer eastbound lane has already been closed for two months.
  • Nearby businesses remain open, but construction has impacted Galley restaurant co-owner Johnny Giavos, who told the Times-Dispatch, "It might get to the point where I'm having to put money in the place to keep it afloat."
  • Construction also blocks off the main entrance to the Food Lion.

Flashback: That stretch of Forest Hill Avenue near the Stratford Hills Shopping Center isn't a stranger to roadway disruptions.

  • A $13 million road improvement plan between Powhite Parkway and Hathaway Road to add bike lanes and sidewalks changed traffic patterns for three years due to delays.
  • It started in 2018 and finished in 2021.

If you go: DPW recommends commuters from Chesterfield take the Jahnke Road exit from Chippenham to avoid the traffic and for GRTC riders to check bus schedules in case the construction impacts their bus route.

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