After dodging orange barrels in a work zone for 2½ years, motorists were treated last week to an almost-completed Route 17 corridor at Gloucester Point.
Kelly Hannon, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said last Thursday that all travel lanes at the Route 17 improvement project are now open and that the construction barriers and work zone signs had been removed. These steps cleared the way for motorists to enter new turn and travel lanes from just north of the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge to about one mile north of the span.
Following final construction and traffic engineering inspections last week, Hannon said, VDOT officials approved the project for total traffic. Permanent 45 mph speed limit signs were uncovered, she said, which replaced the temporary 35 mph speed limit signs in place there for more than two years.
The Gloucester Point Improvement Project built several new safety features along that stretch of Route 17, Hannon said, including a continuous right turn lane added on northbound and southbound Route 17 to remove turning vehicles from the general travel lanes.
In addition, Hannon said that dedicated left turn lanes were added on northbound and southbound Route 17 at the intersection with Lafayette Heights Road, and Camp Okee Drive and Greate Road. A center lane in the median of Route 17 for left turns was eliminated, Hannon said, which should lower the crash risk for motorists who previously had to assess the speed and distance of oncoming traffic as they crossed multiple travel lanes.