In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a street is being expanded from two lanes to four lanes in addition …

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a street is being expanded from two lanes to four lanes in addition to a bridge repair and expansion over 1-95. This stretch of roadway is the only access road for residents in the surrounding lower income housing. The purpose of this roadway is to move the entrance to one of the housing developments to a safer area and to expand the existing roadway. In order to do this it was necessary to tear down the basketball courts, playgrounds and fields used by local children for both athletics and play. These areas were utilized by the community’s youth extensively, receiving freshly paved basketball courts, new nets, and new playgrounds on a regular basis. This road is a major access point between the upper class portion (Down Town Fredericksburg) and the primary shopping area (Central Park). With the expansion of this road the traffic will undoubtedly increase. It is important to note that the residents cross this street extremely frequently as both sides of it have housing. The only safety precaution for the crossing is a crosswalk without lights. There are no additional safety precautions. 1) Is it ethical to remove the recreational space of this community to increase the roadway? 2) Is it ethical to increase the lanes of traffic on a residential road where little to no precautionary measures have been taken when it is a road crossed frequently by the communities inhabitants? 3) If there was a large public outcry would it be the engineer’s responsibility to look for an alternative to the current predicament or is it in the heads of those dictating the expansion? 4) How would you as an engineer balance health and safety issues in this case?

 

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