By JOSHUA STALEY
On January 29, a new access road to the Simpson Library parking lot opened to traffic. The entry, located on College Avenue, is directly across the Heating Plant on Powhatan Street. Sidewalks are not yet available, so pedestrian traffic along the access road is prohibited.
According to the project manager on site, Les Johnson, the realigned road addresses several concerns. The first being the original access road was not a direct route to Simpson as it snaked through the Jepson parking lot.
“The new road is substantially straighter than the previous which is safer for both vehicles and students travelling along the road,” said Johnson.
The entry from College Avenue now aligns with Powhatan Street, improving vehicle access.
“Sight lines for vehicles entering College Avenue from the access road are improved, helping prevent near-miss traffic accidents,” said Johnson.
The new access road is also being built to provide room for the upcoming addition to the Jepson Science Building. This expansion will better accommodate the teaching, research, and lab facilitates available to the student community.
“I used to be a biology major,” said junior English major Shyan Murphy. “I’m sure my friends in the science department will find the new facilities very useful when conducting research.”
The project is set to be finished December 2018. Around this time, sidewalks will be installed, re-opening pedestrian traffic to both the addition and the new access road.
The project as a whole is estimated to cost $22.2 million. This covers everything from the construction cost for the addition to Jepson, the new access road, and the future sidewalks along College Avenue and the access road itself.
The construction that started at the end of the Fall 2017 semester appears to have had little impact on student life and the commute to class throughout the week. Only a portion of College Avenue has been closed as of right now. Detour signs on either side of the construction site, starting at Dupont Hall and ending at the Anderson parking lot, directs students toward the middle of campus down Campus Walk.
“It’s not a big deal to have to walk through campus,” says junior biology major Nicole Lamb. “It’s probably affecting professors and facility more since there is no longer a parking lot behind Jepson.”
The work zone, which includes the Jepson parking lot, has been surrounded by construction fencing, eliminating access to 41 faculty and staff parking spaces.
The parking spaces were relocated to the fourth floor of the Alvey parking deck, where there are signs that mark which spaces are to be used by these members of faculty and staff. The handicap spaces in the Jepson lot are still available for use.
After construction is completed there will ten general access parking spaces and two additional accessible parking spaces behind Jepson.