PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — One southbound lane of Frederick Boulevard will open Saturday, marking the first time in five months that traffic will move in both directions on the busy Midtown thoroughfare.
The southbound lanes, at Turnpike Road, have been closed since October due to unexpected problems in the intersection.
Shellee Casiello, a spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Transportation, says Frederick Boulevard was not supposed to be impacted by the three-year expansion of Turnpike Road. She says crews discovered old sewer and utility lines that needed to be replaced when they got to the intersection.
“The entire intersection was compromised,” said Casiello. “There was some leaks under there and there just wasn’t a base for the road.”
The $23 million Turnpike Road project, to be completed in May, is aimed at widening the road from one lane in each direction to two lanes in each direction. It also includes sidewalks and a 12-foot median.
The construction started in May 2015. Since then, businesses in the area say they’ve experienced a loss in profits due to the road work.
Fareed Lark, owner of Philly Cheesesteak Cafe, says he’s looking forward to one southbound lane opening on Saturday.
“Hopefully we get that other business we’ve been looking for,” he said.
VDOT plans to finish paving Saturday morning and open the road by 3 p.m.