George Hays Road could be reopened again for traffic by weeks end.
“You might be able to drive it this weekend,” said Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison.
Akins Construction began work to repair the road Monday morning.
George Hays Road partially collapsed on April 17 into Briar Creek after the culvert under the road washed out.
City officials initially planned to install a boxed culvert to repair the road, which would have cost about $171,000, and taken about three to four more weeks to finish.
Harrison said that the city decided to change the repair method for the road about two weeks ago after being informed by the state transportation commissioner’s office that the city was unlikely to get that much money.
Harrison said that Akins and the city’s engineer, Chris Brewer, got together and came up with a new method of fixing the road, which involved installing a new culvert that is similar to the old one, but more than twice as wide, and capable of bearing a much higher weight load.
The new culvert is 56 feet long and 72 inches wide, Harrison said.
“It will last a long, long time and take on a lot more water. It also dropped the price tag from $171,000 to $75,000,” Harrison said. “It was so close to school starting. I just went with this.”
Harrison said that with the design change and reduced cost, he is pretty sure that the city will be able to get the project fully funded using state emergency road aid funds.
The city received funding from this program to replace a bridge at Briar Creek Park that was damaged when a tile under the bridge washed out in late April 2017.
The total cost of that repair was about $35,000 out of which the city was able to get $25,000 in state emergency funds.
While George Hays Road will be reopening to traffic again in a few days, Harrison said that he is planning to leave that portion of the road gravel for a while in order to pack the rock and fill materials more tightly before blacktopping this portion of it.