Driver stuck under tractor-trailer

Road improvement plan could expedite emergency response

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Chesterfield citizens will soon have a chance to weigh in on the county’s secondary road, six-year improvement plan.

Neighbors along Nash Road say they’re excited that a much-needed project is on the list. They’re talking about the Reedy Branch bridge replacement.

Judy Wall says for years the bridge has put some limitations on the fire station near her home. She says because of that, she’s been a little uneasy. The problem, she says is that the bridge has an eleven-ton weight limit and fire engines can’t cross the bridge to get to homes north of the bridge.

We checked the nearest fire station in her area and found it on River Road. Driving from the station and then heading north on Nash we arrived at Judy’s home in 2.2 miles. 

Since that route is off limits to firefighters because of the bridge, we then drove the way firefighters would have to go to get to Wall’s home.

From the station we drove on River Road until we got to Reedy Branch Road. After heading East on Reedy Branch, we ran back into Nash Road and our odometer showed we drove 5.2 miles to her property.

“It’s pretty scary. We know that when 9-1-1 is called we have to wait a lot longer. Minutes, seconds could really help save somebody’s life” said Wall.

That’s why she’s glad fire officials pushed to get the Reedy Branch bridge replacement on the list for the 6 year improvement plan. There are a little more than a dozen bridges with similar weight restrictions around the county.

“All of the bridges with weight restrictions that do not allow fire apparatus to cross are a priority. Until upgrades to those bridges are completed, Chesterfield Fire and EMS has identified alternate routes and unit assignments to ensure fire apparatus arrive in a timely manner” said department spokesperson Captain Keith Chambers.

 “For most areas, the response time improvement will be 2 to 3 minute,” he said. “However, there are some areas where the improvement would be almost 4 minutes. This is true for homes Reedy Branch and Woodpecker Roads. This is because units have to travel Cattail Road or Reedy Branch Road and then come back to these locations.”

As for the county adding the Reedy Branch bridge replacement to the secondary road six-year improvement plan, Chambers says.

 “We are encouraged and certainly support this.  County officials have to give consideration to which bridges will provide the greatest positive impact.  The two Genito Road bridges and the Reedy Branch bridge will make the most significant service delivery improvements for fire and EMS protection.”

County supervisors will hold a joint public meeting with VDOT to consider the improvement plan for fiscal years 2013 through 2018. That’s scheduled for May 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Neighbors are invited to share their concerns and comments about the projects that are being proposed. That meeting will take place in the county’s public meeting room in the county administration building.