9450 Atlee Station Road.
More than $7 million of the $11 million project will be funded through its ranking in the state’s Smart Scale program, said Chickahominy District Supervisor Angela KellyWiecek, whose district abuts the project area.
The county has $1 million in general fund money allocated for the Sliding Hill Road widening, said Mike Flagg, Hanover’s director of public works. An additional $500,000 is coming from proffer money collected from developments in the area over the years. The remainder is being paid through other state and federal funds.
“The project will meet our goals and significantly improve traffic flow in the area,” Kelly-Wiecek said.
Officials expect widening the road to increase traffic capacity and improve traffic operations and safety. Once complete, Sliding Hill Road will be at least four lanes from U.S. 1 to New Ashcake Road.
The prospect of added lanes gets decent marks from Ann Andrade, who owns Primrose School of Atlee Commons on the north side of the intersection of Sliding Hill Road and Atlee Commons Drive. Andrade has run the child development center along with her husband, Luis, since 2008.
Andrade said she supports the project but is concerned about how the 150 families who have children at the school will handle turning left onto Sliding Hill Road without a traffic signal.
“There’s a ton of traffic,” Andrade said of the time when kids get picked up. “We have some people being a little more aggressive. They get frustrated and zip out.”
Ashland District Supervisor Faye Prichard, who represents the area where the widening project is planned, said with projects Andrade like these, you can’t please all the stakeholders, but she is proud of the way county staff and residents have interacted on the project.
“You can’t widen a road and not take something away from somebody — there’s no way around that,” Prichard said, adding the project is needed because the area around Sliding Hill Road has grown. “When that road was built, a lot of the subdivisions didn’t exist. The traffic today doesn’t resemble anything like when those roads were built. The back-up has become pretty insane, especially in the morning.”
Constance Thompson has lived on 2 acres off the corner of Sliding Hill Road and King Braxton Court for about 20 years. She said previous improvements made to Sliding Hill Road have chipped away at her property, and she is worried widening the road will have a similar impact.
“You know they’re not taking it off the airport side,” Thompson, who is retired, said.
Sliding Hill Road between Atlee Station and New Ashcake roads generally is a two-lane road. Homes mostly lie to its east, and to the west is the Hanover Air Park, a light industrial area, and also the Hanover County Municipal Airport. The corner of Sliding Hill and Atlee Station roads has a mix of retailers including a Walmart Neighborhood Market, Food Lion, Fas Mart and a slew of eateries.
Eric Herring said ever since a traffic signal was installed at Sliding Hill and Air Park roads, traffic has worsened. Herring — who leases 20 acres off Sliding Hill for his home and business, Herring’s Roofing and Painting — said it would help if tractortrailers heading for the industrial area were required to turn off Sliding Hill at Leadbetter Road, near the Sheetz, instead of Air Park Road.
The current amount of traffic and number of impatient drivers have made Sliding Hill Road more dangerous than it once was, Herring said as he cleared his driveway. He said he worries about the children who have bus stops on Sliding Hill.
“At this point it’s a waste,” Herring said of the widening project. “Our big concern is safety.”
Residents will have the chance to review the project, question county representatives and offer input at next week’s meeting. Lately, Hanover residents have proved more than willing to weigh in on development.
Web Stokes on Jan. 5 published a petition calling for a halt on the construction of residential developments in Hanover on the website Change.org. As of Thursday evening, the petition had attracted 262 supporters. Part of the petition’s criticism is that Hanover’s roads won’t be able to handle the traffic expected to result from proposed subdivisions in the Atlee Station Road area.
Stokes, a recent Board of Supervisors candidate, also was behind a 2014 petition protesting the Walmart on Sliding Hill Road.
In an interview, Stokes said he thought it was good that Sliding Hill Road will be widened, but the road is too far from the Atlee Station area to have much of an impact on that corridor’s traffic woes.