Officials say #036;35-million, 3-mile stretch of highway should be open by end of January

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Things can begin rolling on the new Southwest Suffolk Bypass by the end of January.

Work is about 98 percent complete on the new, three-mile stretch of highway that will link Route 13 and Route 58, said Joe Lomax, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s chief engineer on the project. The new bypass is expected to alleviate much of the tractor-trailer traffic that frequently clogs Turlington Road.

Weather has delayed contractors from putting the finishing the touches on the $38 million project, he said. Initial plans called for the road to open this past October.

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The bypass project is also over budget by approximately $3 million, Lomax said.

&uot;The moisture, rain and cold have caused us some problems,&uot; Lomax said. &uot;The low temperatures are causing many of the delays at hand.&uot;

Most of the work that remains includes striping, guardrail installation, signage installation, and final paving in some areas, he said.

Once the project is finished, both VDOT and contractors will conduct extensive inspections before opening the bypass.

Exceeding the $35 million budget for the project came from unexpected problems that cropped up during construction, Lomax said.

For example, the ramp exiting behind Kilby Shores Elementary School had to be redesigned because of its steep slope and drainage problems, Lomax said. Another bridge revision and more minor drainage problems also had to be addressed.

&uot;In construction, plans often get sidetracked due to things discovered once we get in the field,&uot; said Lomax. &uot;Nothing is ever etched in stone.&uot;