A chance for input

Published 6:18 pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

Whatever else is true about it, one thing is sure regarding the new U.S. Route 460: It will be a massive project. The 55-mile, limited-access toll highway will offer an alternative to the existing Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg and is intended to provide a quicker trip for truckers and others seeking to get from one end of the stretch to the other in a hurry. As Hampton Roads waits to learn the level of destruction that will be associated with Hurricane Sandy, it’s important to note the new road also is intended as a robust evacuation route in case of natural disasters.

Before it can become any of those things, however, the road must be designed and built, and that means answering a lot of distinct questions about its final route, about the locations where underpasses will allow local traffic to cross the road and about how contractors and the state will help mitigate the impact of construction activities on the communities along the route.

Those have been some of the most important questions to people in Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Sussex and Prince George, and they’ve been among the hardest answers to get during the commonwealth’s long process of choosing a developer to build the road and finding a strategy for financing it. Those decisions have now been made, and the preliminary surveys, soil samples and other activities related to engineering are about to begin in earnest.

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Now the state is giving local residents a chance to learn more about that process. Area residents have been invited to a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Windsor High School, where they are being asked to provide their input on the details of the plan. This meeting will give residents an important opportunity to talk about things like dead-end roads, detours and disruptions. It’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss if you’re concerned about how construction of the new road might affect your life.