Officials praised for action on Nansemond Parkway traffic signal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

While it is easy to complain and point out what needs to be done in a given situation, it seems that people often find it hard to laud the efforts of those same people that you complained to when they concede to the demands of a community.

This will not be the case in this situation.

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Two months ago I wrote expressing my views, and what I think were the views of my community, about the need for a traffic light in front of Nansemond River High School.

The opinion letter was written in response to a horrific accident that occurred when a student, Christina Maupin, was broad sided by a delivery truck as she pulled out of the schools parking lot during the afternoon rush hour. Today, I write to say, thank you!

I am delighted to report that as of Friday Nov. 12, 2004, exactly 58 days after the accident, a traffic light has been installed and is operational in front of Nansemond River High School.

This wasn’t as easy as it may seem.

The cost estimate that was quoted to me was between $80,000 to $120,000; with a construction time of three to six months.

I discovered after doing a lot of research and sending a lot of emails, that the City of Suffolk, at the current time, is only responsible for maintaining those roadways which are located within the old core City limits; approximately 2.5 square miles.

The roadways in the remaining 427.5 square miles of Suffolk, are maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The City of Suffolk has a unique relationship with VDOT, whereby Suffolk is the only City in Virginia where VDOT maintains the roadway system. In accordance with the highway laws of Virginia, the City of Suffolk has no control, supervision, management or jurisdiction over roadways maintained by VDOT.

The City of Suffolk entered into this relationship when it merged with the City of Nansemond (formally Nansemond County) back in the early 1970’s.

The thought at the time was the new City of Suffolk was too large for the small Public Works department to assume the roadways, so the City was able to talk then-governor Godwin into passing special legislation, which allowed VDOT to maintain the additional 427.5 square miles of roadways.

As you can see, the speed in which the two government entities came together, agreed on the necessity of the traffic light and then had it operational in only 58 days was truly, in my opinion, an extraordinary feat in itself.

I dare to speak for all the parents of children that attend Nansemond River High School, now and in the future, whether riding a bus or driving their own vehicle, when I say thank you for doing the right thing.

I applaud all of the individuals in the City and VDOT that had a hand in completing this task…well done!

Andrew S. Key,