NSA, others oppose highway plan

Published 10:45 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

By Merle Monahan

The Tidewater News

The construction of a $1.5- to $2-billion, 55-mile divided highway from Petersburg to Suffolk remains a concern for property owners, including 20 who voiced their thoughts before the project’s review panel Thursday at Windsor High School.

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At the second of three public meetings, residents who live along the proposed new Route 460 opposed the plan, citing the destruction of homes, the division of farmland and “the complete ruination of some businesses.”

One speaker said when the new highway and the old Route 460 intersect near Disputanta, the little town will be “wiped out.”

“All the little towns will suffer, because the traffic that supports the businesses will no longer be there,” he said.

Representing Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Trustee Charles Birdsong told the panel the highway would mean the loss of four acres of the school’s property, leaving no access to the severed acreage. It would also demolish much of the athletic field.

Birdsong and other speakers urged the panel to revise the plan, while others suggested the project be abandoned.

The review panel did not respond. Comments were recorded for study by the 11-member panel, which also met on Thursday to evaluate the proposals the three companies submitted for building the road.

During their presentations, representatives from 460 Partners Inc., Multimodal Solutions LLC and Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.U. each provided a video presentation and their conceptual proposal.

Panel members the questioned each of the presenters.

The three proposals will be evaluated by the review panel based on the criteria outlined in Virginia Department of Transportation’s solicitation for proposals. Recommendations for submission to VDOT’s commissioner and the Commonwealth Transportation Board will be developed during the third public meeting at noon Thursday in Prince George County.

No public comments will be accepted at the third meeting; written comments may still be submitted through Monday to VDOT’s Innovative Project Delivery Division at 1401 E. Broad St., Richmond, Va., 23219, or by email to Route460PPTA@vdot.virginia.gov.