Waterfront, Main Street improvements on track

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

Walking down North Main Street will soon be a much safer and more pleasant experience.

Within weeks after the Suffolk City Council endorses the project, the city’s public works department is poised to begin a massive six-month facelift that will transform the North Main corridor for pedestrians.

The city council, which meets Wednesday, is expected to accept a $479,079 grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The grant, all of which is earmarked for

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Main Street pedestrian improvements, requires a $1,924 local funding match.

Specifically, the grant will be used to:

nBuild eight-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of North Main. The two sidewalks will begin in front of the Suffolk Health Department and Wal-Mart and end at the intersection of U.S. Route 10 and Pruden Boulevard, at Elephants Fork.

nThe project will also include extensive landscaping within median areas that will be placed between the sidewalks and the roads.

&uot;This grant (of federal money distributed by VDOT) is designed to improve air quality,&uot; said Eric T. Nielsen Jr., the city’s director of public works. &uot;The hope is that by encouraging people to use sidewalks, there will be less traffic on the road.&uot;

Nearby, at Constant’s Wharf, public works crews are almost finished work on the waterfront park and marina outside the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center.

&uot;The park is probably 99 percent complete,&uot; Nielsen said recently. During the days leading up to Christmas, crews were in the final stages of landscaping and installing decorative brick pavers near the marina.

&uot;The marina is already complete and the park will soon follow,&uot; he said. &uot;Within the next 30 days, we will be sodding the entire area.&uot;

The hotel and adjacent conference center will be opening on March 1.