Route 460: ‘This is going to impact us’
Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2005
Special to the News-Herald
PRINCE GEORGE – More than 200 people crowded into J.E.J. Moore Middle School cafeteria for the Virginia Department of Transportation Route 460 Location Study public hearing Thursday. They were there to get their opinion on the record.
&uot;It’s soaking into people all of the sudden that this is going to impact us,&uot; said Charles Skalsky, a Prince George County resident.
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VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are considering three alternatives to the existing U.S. Route 460, between the I-295 interchange in New Bohemia and the U.S. Route 58 interchange in Suffolk, to address safety concerns and bring the road up to VDOT standards. The first option is a proposed four-lane limited-access highway at a new location south of the existing Route 460.
The second almost mirrors the existing roadway but includes bypasses around Windsor, Zuni, Ivor, Waverly, Wakefield and Disputanta.
The third is a highway similar to the first option located north of the existing Route 460. However, Low-Build (making small additions or improvements to the existing highway) and No-Build (keeping the highway in its current state) options are also being considered.
During the informal public hearing held from 4 to 7 p.m. VDOT engineers were standing by to take questions.
The perimeter of the room was lined with large display boards illustrating and explaining exactly how each route would affect the cities and towns located along the existing Route 460. A series of boards on display showed aerial photographs of the area with the three potential roadways laid out on top so that residents could get a better idea of exactly what would fall in the path of each construction option.
&uot;You can’t have too much public input on a decision like this,&uot; said Sen. Henry Marsh III, D-16. &uot;Legislators can look at the facts and the statistics, but we need the citizens to tell us about the real issues.&uot;
Pete Greene, a resident of Isle of Wight County, attended his local public hearing in Windsor as well as the Prince George hearing. Greene spent his time looking at the aerial maps of Windsor and expressing his concerns about his home and others around him.
&uot;If they take that route [the southern route] then they are going to run over 28 houses that are all worth between $300,000 and $700,000,&uot; said Greene.
The proposed southern route would put Greene’s home directly in the path of oncoming traffic.
&uot;I’m 70 and I’d rather have them run over my house than take four or five acres and build a highway in my back yard,&uot; said Greene.
Citizen comments were taken both verbally and on comment sheets which could be submitted throughout the hearing. Overall, VDOT officials were pleased with the turnout.
&uot;We had 400 people show up Tuesday night in Windsor,&uot; said Jim Clarke, Route 460 Study manager. &uot;We really expended a lot of effort trying to get the word out and I’m encouraged that people took time out to attend this evening.&uot;
According to Clarke there is no clear public preference for a particular route yet. He stated that the comments from both public hearings will be summarized within the next few weeks. Comments will be taken until July 31 for the official transcript. Visit the study website at http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/projects/460.asp for an online comment form or mail comments to your district administrator:
• Dennis W. Heuer, P.E., Hampton Roads District Administrator, Virginia Department of Transportation, 1700 North Main Street, Suffolk, Va. 23432.
Thomas A. Hawthorne, P.E., Richmond District Administrator, Virginia Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 3402, Colonial Heights, Va. 23834.