Citizens give input on 460

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

An alternative to the heavily traveled, accident-plagued U.S. Route 460 is a long way down the road.

But the topic is never far from the minds of the 150 area residents who on Wednesday dropped by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s scoping meeting to give their input and ideas to department representatives. Held from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday in Windsor High School, the meeting is kicking off a three-year, $6 million study for relocating U.S. Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg.

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A second meeting is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18 in the Bland Meeting Room, Samuel Bland Building in the Prince George County Courthouse Complex, 6600 Courthouse Road.

The study will look into the transportation problems associated with the corridor between the Route 58 Bypass and the Route 460/Interstate 295 interchange in Prince George County, said Christopher Collins, project studies section head. The VDOT study team will then develop a broad range of possible solutions and evaluate their positive and negative impacts.

For example, Collins said, the study will look at a number of safety factors, including the number of accidents and the severity of those accidents

&uot;Then, as a part of the process, we will look at a variety of alternatives, including improvements to existing roadways, bypasses that will take motorist away from the string of towns along the route, or possible even a new road built in a completely new location,&uot; he said.

The study will be sent back to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which will have the final say in determining whether the new stretch of highway is built or repaired, how much it will cost and most importantly, when it will happen.

No time frame has been established for the project, Collins said.

Shirley Warren, whose family owns land adjacent to 460 near the Windsor-Suffolk line, was hoping to see a VDOT plan Wednesday.

&uot;Ideally, I would like to see them reroute traffic through the northern part of the county,&uot; Warren said. &uot;One big concern I have is tolls. Route 460 is only way a lot of us have to go anywhere.

&uot;Who wants to pay a toll to go to the grocery store or the doctor’s office?&uot;

Phyllis Walker, a Tucker Swamp Road resident, agreed, saying she appreciates the opportunity that VDOT is giving resident to participate in the planning stages.

&uot;Something needs to be done out there,&uot; she said. &uot;The traffic is awful.&uot;

Her husband, Victor Walker, agreed.

&uot;My only concern is that they are not going to do anything soon enough,&uot; he said. Walker said he believes a bypass going around the string of small towns between Suffolk and Petersburg will be the best alternate route.

&uot;I don’t think businesses along 460 will lose any business,&uot; Walker said.

Isle of Wight County Administrator Douglas Caskey disagreed. The county’s Board of Supervisors last year adopted a resolution supporting realignment in the same vicinity of the existing roadway.

&uot;It makes sense to improve on what we already have,&uot; Caskey said. &uot;There are a lot of livelihoods along that corridor that rely on the people who travel through there.&uot;