Grace Street utility work reaches 400 block

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Ministry, business still accessible via Main Street

The town of Smithfield’s Grace Street utility project has now reached the 400 block, but residents can still access buildings in that area by turning from Main Street via a single lane of traffic by the Gimme Shelter store.

Isle of Wight Christian Outreach advises clients can still come in for food pickup and other services on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“It had people really confused,” said Rick Rowlands, executive director of Christian Outreach. “I think it’s going to be at least a couple weeks, if not more [until construction is finished.]”

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Cofer Auto, located across the street from Christian Outreach, confirmed it too is still accessible via the intersection at Gimme Shelter.

“The roadway has not reopened, but it is open to customers trying to access any of the businesses in that area,” said Town Manager Michael Stallings.

The town hasn’t received any complaints about the construction, he added, but has been “working with Christian Outreach to ensure that their customers can still access their facility.”

The project, which involves replacing the town’s water and sewer mains, began in January and was initially expected to be complete by the end of September.

The work entails upgrading the 4-inch water main on Grace Street, which is thought to date to the early 1900s, with 8-inch pipes capable of meeting modern flow requirements for fire hydrants. The sewer mains in the area were also experiencing frequent failures, so the town decided to replace those as well.

The road itself is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation and is slated for resurfacing soon, which is why town officials waited to move the project forward this year, before that occurs.

The project was originally planned to be complete by the end of September, but the work is now expected to be completed in November, Stallings said. The timeline was extended slightly because, “we added some additional sewer work to the project that wasn’t part of the original scope,” he said.