As I had reported earlier this week on the Rollins Road Gateway Project, the traffic signals at the intersection of Rollins Road and Route 83 did not have to be put in the flashing mode after all. Work was completed on Thursday that allowed the mast to be removed without any interuption in traffic signal functions. While making my rounds at the construction area I noticed that they have painted a brand new white shoulder stripe on Hainesville Road where the added asphalt was poured. The line is in the normal area of the shoulder and does not include any of the additional asphalt. This seemed rather odd to me since the whole idea was to shift traffic to the newly poured strip, remove the four vacant homes, and begin the process of building the new curve from Hainesville Rd. and Clarendon to the west side of McDonald’s .
The County mentioned in their updates that the fire department might be holding some training exercises over the weekend but nobody was doing any of that on Saturday. The four vacant house won’t simply be bulldozed and put into dumpsters or dump trucks. They will be taken apart with the wood, electrical, piping, etc, all being separated before leaving the site.
At the end of August the County put out an update that said “the work in Gateway Park is on hold to deal with some poor soil conditions and locate some utilities“. There’s a lot more to it than that which hasn’t been mentioned. A major problem has arisen that is causing a lot of the delay and may be why they went ahead and restriped Hainesville Rd as if the new shoulder won’t be used for awhile. They’ve known all along that there is a huge 30″ high-pressure gas line buried beneath the area that the new configuration of Hainesville will pass over. This pipe is several decades old and probably getting pretty rusty by now. Pouring a bed of gravel over it and adding excessive load from vehicles may cause some real serious problems. The same pipe passes under the existing Hainesville Road but at that point it is much deeper underground since the grade is much higher.
From what I understand they have not come up with a solution yet, whether it be building some type of a support over the pipeline to carry the weight or another viable solution. In the meantime, if you don’t see a lot of activity going on other than some demolition of the houses it may be due to more engineering studies on the weight that the pipe will be able to withstand and how to bridge traffic across it.