Parkway flooding to be addressed

Published 10:13 pm Friday, July 13, 2012

A flood in the intersection of Shoulders Hill Road and Nansemond Parkway stymied business at several establishments in the Northgate Commerce Park for three straight days this week. Officials say they are working to tweak the design of the widening project to prevent future floods.

The contractor on the Nansemond Parkway widening project says it is working with the city to avoid repeat floods after Northgate Commerce Park businesses endured a third straight day of sharply reduced productivity.

Wanchese Fish Company and Suffolk Cold Storage have been trucking many of their workers in and out since the intersection of Shoulders Hill Road and the parkway became swamped overnight Tuesday.

Suffolk Cold Storage General Manager Jim Stoddard said about 40 workers were trucked in across the pond Friday while about 20-odd employees crossed in pickup trucks.

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“It’s a big inconvenience, that’s for sure,” Stoddard said. “A lot of customers had to be turned away who didn’t want to risk bringing their vehicles in there.”

Branscome Vice President Buddy League said the contractor is “currently working with the city to come up with a plan for that not to happen again.”

The plan would likely mean revisions to the project contract “that will allow for some relief for high storm events,” he said.

Keith Horton, part owner of Transition Metals, said the water was still two feet deep about 8 a.m. Friday.

Smaller operations like his were suffering more than the larger companies able to use their trucks as taxi services.

“It’s a challenge,” Horton said. “Twenty part-time people depend on the little bit that they make, and there’s just no way we can pay them when we’re not generating any revenue.”

Frank Moseley, service manager at Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning of Hampton Roads, said that after two days of driving his four-wheel-drive through a field, he has now resorted to using a paved road that is yet to officially open.

“We’re very, very disappointed with the city of Suffolk,” he said Friday. “This has been a continual problem, and now we’re going on the third day since the water has been there from the storm.”

Although appointments had to be rescheduled and specific programs on office computers could not be utilized, some employees made do working from home, he said.

“I would say probably two or three people weren’t able to work” Wednesday, he said.

Moseley said that the water Friday morning remained up to three feet deep in places. “That’s why I still won’t even take my truck through there,” he added.

City Public Works Director Eric Nielsen, who was confident the future installation of two 91- by 58-inch elliptical storm water pipes would handle most future downpours, said Friday that a second access road is planned for the business park.

He says this week’s was a one-in-10-year flood which completion of the widening project would not prevent.

League was contrite about the flood, saying, “We apologize for any inconvenience that it did have to businesses and residents in the area.”