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    Downtown Utility & Streetscape Project - FAQ's

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    General

    What is the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Improvements Project?
    The City of Lynchburg Downtown Utility and Streetscape Improvement Project is a complete replacement of all water line systems in the central business district. Streetscape improvements will include new sidewalks, crosswalks and parking spaces, and enhanced landscaping with new trees and added lighting.

    Decorative features will be added throughout downtown to reflect the unique character of Lynchburg. We are excited about this time of redevelopment in our great city. Living and working in downtown Lynchburg will mean watching our historic district transform into a more vibrant community. With this project, the city will prepare for future growth in the downtown area, while embracing its rich history through the addition of features that mirror the City of Lynchburg past. 

    What is the construction schedule?
    The contractor has developed a tentative schedule to inform the project team and the public. This schedule may vary depending on things like the weather, and delivery of materials and equipment. Unforeseen issues such as archeological or historical findings may require extra time to ensure their protection during construction.  Underground utilities not shown on construction plans require extra time to determine their source. Click here to be directed to the Project Schedule page which shows the project phasing, estimated start dates and actual completion dates.

    Access

    How will construction affect my business?
    The City’s contractor, English Construction, will work very hard to minimize inconveniences to businesses due to construction. Businesses and residents will receive construction information through public meetings, one-on-one meetings, small group and organizational meetings, news media, social media email updates and this website.  We will work with downtown merchants to have alternate plans in place prior to construction and to make sure that merchants and patrons are given notice of when and where construction will take place.  The contractor will provide business access signs for buildings/business in the construction zone.

    Will I always have access to my business/residence?

    Vehicular Access
    As the construction progresses, some streets in downtown will be temporarily inaccessible to vehicles. However, the construction crew will work closely with business owners to address concerns about access.  Business access signs will direct motorists to temporary businesses entrances.

    Pedestrian Access
    Pedestrian access will be maintained during construction.  Temporary sidewalks will be placed between buildings and fences bordering the construction area.  Access may be delayed during the installation of temporary sidewalks while crews remove the old sidewalks and lay the temporary sidewalks.  You may be detoured, delayed or asked to use an alternate entrance when the permanent sidewalks are being poured.  This is to allow the concrete to cure or harden and usually takes from 4-6 hours.

    Parking
    If you currently have parking in a designated area that will be in a construction zone, we will work with you to find another parking option. These options include permit parking in one of the available public parking garages.

    What about City events?
    To keep construction progressing, some city events may require relocation to other areas of the city.  The project team is working closely with downtown event organizers during the construction.  If you are planning an event in the downtown area, please contact Heather Kennedy at 434-528-3041 or e-mail to hkennedy@cella.cc to coordinate your event with the downtown construction.

    Two-Way Street Conversion

    How will loading and unloading work with two-way traffic?
    Loading zones will be identified on a per block basis to serve deliveries to the businesses.  These zones will be designated with signs and enforced by Lynchburg Police Department and Parking Management staff.  Most are timed 8AM-5PM and can be used by anyone needing to load and unload as long as their four-ways are flashing.  In the 900 block of Main Street, zones are timed from 7AM-11AM, then become 1HR parking after 11AM. 

    How will parking be affected?
    One and two-hour parallel parking will remain on Main and Church Streets.  In the current design, there is a net gain of 10 on-street spaces.  Public parking decks are the preferred method of parking if a visitor is staying longer than two hours, and improved way finding signs will be added so drivers can easily locate the decks.

    Will traffic flow change?
    Two-way streets are perceived to be narrower thereby slowing traffic which allows more visibility for drivers.  This better serves pedestrian movement for residents and visitors and translates into safer streets.  The maximum speed limit for downtown is still 25mph.

    Why replace traffic signals with all-way stops?
    Stop signs force drivers to be more attentive and slow down at intersections which makes downtown safer and more pedestrian friendly.  This will aid in downtown transforming into a destination and not a through-route for traffic. 

    Will bus routes be affected?
    No.  Bus stops will remain and they will continue to use their designated passenger loading zones.

    Will emergency vehicles have adequate access?
    Yes.  Emergency vehicles still take priority over other vehicles travelling downtown and the rules of the road still apply.  Drivers must yield to police and fire and move to the right.

    Planned Water Shut Off 

    Will our utilities be shut off during the construction?
    Utility interruptions will be unavoidable. You will experience several planned water shut-off’s usually lasting less than four hours at any one time. To minimize inconveniences, some planned water shut-offs can be scheduled after hours.
     
    How will I know if my water will be shut-off?
    You will receive at least 48 hours of advanced notification of any planned water shut-offs via a flyer that will be placed on your door. Check the Water Shut-offs page on this site for current water shut-off information.  

    Un-planned Water Shut Off

    Please keep in mind, downtown Lynchburg dates back before the 1850s.  There may be an occasion that a waterline is damaged during construction.  You will be informed of the situation via a flyer placed on your door which will include instructions on how to proceed. Old water and sewer lines could be damaged or disintegrate unexpectedly due to the heavy construction equipment required to replace the systems, and a portion of the water system may have to be shut down to make a repair. In this case, we have an emergency plan in place to notify you and work to restore service as soon as possible.

    Utilities

    Utilities Replacement – What is the construction process?
    The contractor will begin construction in an area by installing a chain link fence around the construction zone to provide a barrier for pedestrian safety.   Initially, construction workers will demolish existing roadway and sidewalks.  Temporary pedestrian access will be provided as needed.  New water mains, and drainage structures will be installed.  Installation of electrical and communication conduits will follow.  Once these services are installed, water lines will be inspected and tested and finally connected to private properties.  Once the new services are operational, existing water lines will be demolished and removed, and the roadbed will be prepared for asphalt or brick depending on the location.  Sidewalk curbing will be installed and the new sidewalk poured followed by the decorative brick pavers.  Asphalt (or brick) will complete the roadway.

    Why is the City replacing underground utilities (sewer and water)?
    The existing water infrastructure is a mixture of different materials from different time periods.  City utilities staff has found water main fittings stamped with dates from the early 1800's.  There are various reasons for replacing the old water mains.  The old potable water mains are primarily cast iron and these mains are reaching the end of their life expectancy.  With the increase in residential units, future water demand will increase and the new water system has been designed to handle the increased demand while maintaining an acceptable pressure.

    Contact

    Who can I contact to get information about the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Improvements Project?
    For more information about the project, please contact the City of Lynchburg public information consultant, Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc.  You may use the Contact Us page or contact Heather Kennedy at Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. at 434-528-3041.  You may also write to hkennedy@cella.cc or to 209 Ninth Street, Lynchburg, VA  24504.
     

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