Bridge realignment up for public review

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Moving the Kings Highway Bridge would not negatively impact the environment or disturb any historically significant sites, said state officials.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s recently completed $600,000 relocation study has deemed that the city’s proposal to replace the state’s only remaining swing-span bridge a 1/2-mile upstream from its current site is feasible, said Eric Nielsen, the city’s director of public works.

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Next week, VDOT will host a public information session for residents to discuss a couple of possible alternative realignments options for the 77-year-old bridge spanning the Nansemond River.

The open forum is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 29 in King’s Fork Middle School. VDOT representatives will be available to take formal public comments beginning at 6 p.m.

The last hearing, held in 2001, drew hundreds of residents, many of whom opposed the state’s initial plan to replace it with a high-rise bridge in its existing site.

That spring, the Suffolk City Council unanimously asked the state to study the possibility of realigning the bridge upstream, a move that would have bridge traffic bypassing Chuckatuck.

As part of the study, VDOT communicated with several state and federal regulatory agencies – including the Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers – to determine the feasibility of relocating the bridge to the proposed alternate site, said VDOT spokesman Jeff Caldwell.

Information about this project will also be available for review at the VDOT office at 1700 N. Main St.