Councilman urges Yes vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2002

On Nov. 5 the voters of Hampton Roads will have a chance to fund the upgrade of Route 460 from Suffolk

to Isle of Wight to an interstate quality roadway. As a member of the Suffolk City Council and an advocate for the health and safety of all our citizens, I strongly support this effort.

Route 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg is critically important to the citizens of Suffolk and all of Hampton Roads. This corridor serves as a major link for our region’s citizens with I-95 to Washington, D.C. and southward, all the way to Florida. It serves as an alternate route to Richmond, allowing our residents to bypass the all-too-common traffic jams along I-64 and at our tunnels. It will likely be the future home to a high-speed rail link that will connect us with Boston, New York City and Washington D.C., running all the way to Georgia. Yet, this roadway is currently an undivided 4-lane highway with narrow shoulders and no left-turn lanes to keep traffic moving safely. As the only major evacuation route out of Hampton Roads that is not dependent on a bridge-tunnel crossing that are at risk of closure should we experience severe winds, significant flooding or terrorist activity, Route 460 needs to be upgraded.

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Based on a study conducted by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA, if would take as long as 26-hours to evacuate Hampton Roads residents using the existing roadways. Even if the lanes on I-64 heading east were redirected to move traffic out of the region, it is estimated that only 84 percent of our residents could successfully leave the area during an emergency evacuation. If you are among the 16 percent who are left stranded, you will be outraged that we didn’t do all that we could to move our citizens to safety.

There is much at stake on Nov. 5 and a YES vote will help to ensure the safety of our citizens and will ease daily traffic congestion throughout the region. Join me in voting YES on Nov. 5 to make an investment in a safer, more convenient transportation network.

Bobby L. Ralph

Suffolk City Council

104 Northgate Lane

Suffolk, Va. 23434