Council gets multimodal project going

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

City Council passed two resolutions Wednesday night, which would kick start the city’s use of the $450,000 grant received from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Suffolk shares the grant with Isle of Wight County in an effort to help address the growing bottleneck and congestion problems created by incoming rail traffic.

This issue is of particular importance to local residents as business continues to grow through the Port of Virginia.

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The money will help fund a computer software package that will use modeling and simulation to see the effect of differing traffic patterns.

During a presentation to City Council, Eric Nielsen, director of public works, told the council members that this new software would model impacts due to unplanned transportation alternatives, such as road closings, detours or improvements. Plus, using modeling and simulation technologies, city staff could see the impact of the Port Authority expansions as well as hypothetical scenarios revolving new development and multi-modal parks (much like the CenterPoint development currently being proposed for Suffolk).

Wednesday night, Council unanimously passed a resolution approving a memorandum of understanding between the City of Suffolk and Isle of Wight County concerning the Multimodal Planning Grant Project. The memo addressed a number of concerns but stipulated that the City of Suffolk would be administering the project, while Isle of Wight County would oversee.

Both localities will provide staff for participation in all of the necessary project meetings as well as to work with the consultant selected for the project.

Council also voted unanimously to authorize City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn to execute the agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia Multimodal Planning office to utilize funds from the Federal Surface Transportation Program in both Isle of Wight County and Suffolk.

Last month, city staff received proposals from various consultants on the project and Nielsen told Council they should have one selected by the end of this month. Then, the pre-award audit will be ready by October, with the award contract coming in November. If all goes as planned, City Council will be seeing a model development of the project by December of this year.