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GRTC Pulse construction progress questioned

RICHMOND, Va. – If you’ve driven down Broad Street, you have most likely come across the construction for the GRTC Pulse project.

“The construction has been a bit of a headache,” said Josephine Flemotomos.

Flemotomos owns Gus’ Bar and Grill on Broad Street and said though she’s excited for the project, she’s had some issues with parking.

Along with parking concerns, others have asked why it appears that only some parts of Broad Street are being worked on, when the whole street is blocked off.

GRTC Pulse construction is underway all along Broad Street.

Flemotomos said she has noticed that but isn’t bothered by it.

“It would be nice if it was blocked off where they were working, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they’re trying to keep people contained,” she said.

We took questions some had about the construction to GRTC Spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace.

The express bus route is expected to begin operating this year.

“Our goal was to make sure we minimize impacts, and some of that means we’re performing in such a way that might not be obvious to people that are passing by,” she said.

Rose Pace said they have already worked from Hamilton to 1st Street, including saw cutting, which many may not notice.

“You can see that saw cut line meaning we have literally cut into the road and you’ll see it along that yellow line,” said Rose Pace.

Ten new 40-foot buses will serve the Pulse Rapid Transit Route, a 7.6-mile stretch between Rocketts Landing and Willow Lawn. Among its features is that it is considered eco-friendly and runs on compressed natural gas.

New GRTC Pulse buses

"This has 38 seats as well as rooms for 15 standees -- meaning people standing up holding as they ride. We have better bike capacities, so we can hold up to three bikes on the front of the bus as opposed to two, which is great," Rose Pace said.

The express routes will be made possible through Transit Signal Priority. The buses will be communicating with the traffic lights.

"The traffic signals know where the buses are at all times. If they can hear a ping, and tell the bus they're coming and wait for me, then it'll hold the light green long enough to get that bus through," Pace said.

GRTC Pulse hopes to test the new route as early as August 2017. GRTC Pulse plans to start operating in October 2017.

The $49 million dollar project will transform Broad Street into a 7-mile stretch of frequently running buses, stretching from Willow Lawn to Rocket’s Landing.