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Gretna streetscape project continues

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Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013 8:24 pm

The town of Gretna will receive $325,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the third phase of its streetscape project.

VDOT awarded the grant last month after the town’s fourth application for the money, said Town Manager David Lilly. Gretna must provide 20 percent in matching funds, a total of $65,000.

The grant money came from VDOT through the federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Program, said VDOT spokeswoman Paula Jones.

Gretna’s project was one of 50 across the state to receive about $18 million approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to provide better and safer access for pedestrians and bicyclists.

This latest grant is part of a $1.9 million, four-phase project that town officials hope will include a paved bike trail on the north side of East Gretna Road, a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks below East 40, improvements to downtown, intersection landscaping in the northern part of town and other enhancements. The trail would lead to Elba Park on Chaney Lane.

The $325,000 will pay for the third phase of the project. Gretna Town Council will decide in about 30-60 days what enhancements to include in the third phase, Lilly said.

The town will pay the costs upfront and VDOT will reimburse 80 percent of the project’s expenses, Lilly said.

For the project’s first and second phases, Gretna is currently improving about 1,400 feet of Va. 40 (Vaden Drive) from Dalton Street to just past Fitzgerald Street. The upgrade, included in the project, entails new sidewalks, curbs and gutters and storm-drain improvements. It began in April and is about 80 percent complete, Lilly said.

Gretna received $342,000 from VDOT to pay for the first two phases of the project, and must provide a $68,400 match.

Before the upgrade, there was no sidewalk from Dalton Street to Fitzgerald Street, which created dangerous conditions for recreational walkers. Pedestrians were walking in the streets and yards, Lilly said.

“ Sidewalks ... are important to pedestrian traffic,” Lilly said. “They’re attractive, nice and heavily used.”

Additional improvements coming up in the first two phases include a brick crosswalk to replace the sidewalks at Main Street and Vaden Drive. That project will begin soon, Lilly said.

Officials hope to eventually add more sidewalks further west on Va. 40 to Leftwich Street, and down to existing sidewalk on Leftwich, a paved bike lane to Yates Tavern and a kiosk/interpretive trail map downtown.

Gretna has not applied for money for the fourth phase, Lilly said.

Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee.

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