The $1.85 million project will add 0.7 miles of sidewalk along the north side of Hungary Road between Hardings Way Drive and Hungary Spring Road. Most of the sidewalk will be 4 feet wide with a 2-foot-wide grass utility strip.
Brookland District Supervisor Dan Schmitt said that the new sidewalk will connect with established sidewalks along Hungary, Francistown and Hungary Spring roads, providing 6.5 miles of continuous connectivity and safe pedestrian access to two parks, two schools, several places of worship, four grocery stores, many restaurants and thousands of homes, apartments and streets.
“This is a project about safety,” he said. “This is a project about connection, and this is a project that will raise the quality of life for the thousands of residents who live in this area.”
The project builds on the county’s efforts to make nonmotorized travel safer for pedestrians and cyclists in every district.
In addition, the project will include ADA-accessible ramps and the installation of pedestrian crossings at Hungary and Staples Mill roads and at Hungary and Hungary Spring roads.
County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and Public Works Director Terrell Hughes joined Schmitt and other officials at the groundbreaking ceremony, which was held at Laurel Presbyterian Church, by the intersection of Hungary and Staples Mill roads.
Schmitt recognized several community members in attendance, including Gordon and Betty Ann Flynn, whom he called early advocates for the project.
“If you’ve ever walked this area or you’ve seen Betty Anne walking this area or others trying to navigate this area, you understand how important this project is,” he said. “You do not have to look hard to find neighbors walking on the side of the road, literally wearing a path as they travel between their home, the store, a school or a park.”
The Flynns live in a neighborhood off Hungary Road, where Mrs. Flynn is an avid walker.
“I’ve wanted the sidewalk for so long; there was no place to go,” she said after the event. “I’m just looking forward to walking.”
Henrico has built more than 15 miles of sidewalks and shared-use paths in the past five years. Over the next three years, 26 miles of sidewalks and 17 miles of shared-use paths are funded and programmed to be constructed. Brookland will benefit from 10 miles of sidewalk and 4 miles of path.
Schmitt said that 10 additional pedestrian crossings are programmed along Staples Mill Road, including at Glen Allen High School, Hermitage Road, Wistar Road, Bremner Boulevard, Crockett Street, Glenside Drive, Penick Road, Aspen Avenue, Parham Road and Bethlehem Road. Crossings at Dumbarton and Dickens roads are under study.
“Folks, that is progress for the people along this corridor,” he said. “This project is indicative of what I have and will continue to advocate for, which is safe connection points for our residents.
“We will continue to build sidewalks where there are gaps,” Schmitt said. “We will continue to focus along major roads where connections are needed for shopping centers, libraries, our government center and more. We will continue to deliver for the residents of this county with improvements within these communities.”
Hughes underscored Public Works’ commitment to improving walkability between communities.
“As residents of Henrico County frequently let us know, they want to walk, they want to bike, they want to get around in ways outside of the automobile, and our leaders are hearing them,” he said.
Hughes also acknowledged the lengthy process of putting in a sidewalk. Public Works’ community meeting on the Hungary Road sidewalk project was held three years ago.
“This project’s been a long time coming, and it’s going to connect a lot of communities,” he said, “and we look forward to doing more projects like this in the county.”
Construction is expected to begin later this month and be completed in spring 2024. More information about the project is online.