Parkway project ‘going very well’

Published 2:05 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

The cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake are collaborating on the widening of Nansemond Parkway/Portsmouth Boulevard to a two-lane divided road through Interstate 664. Work is progressing, but traffic restrictions are likely to continue for some time yet.

The initial phase of the Nansemond Parkway widening project is behind schedule, but city officials still expect it to be completed this spring.

“Overall the project is going very well,” city spokeswoman Debbie George wrote in an email. “Contractually, the completion date of the project is March 1, 2013. However, we expect the contractor to submit a contract extension request for a variety of reasons.”

Such extensions are typical “with a project of this magnitude,” George added.

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Phase One will likely be  “substantially complete and open to traffic in late March” if a warm spring occurs, according to George.

“If we get a very cold March, then most likely the completion date would be in April,” she wrote.

“The final phase of the project will be the installation of the final surface course of asphalt and associated pavement markings, which are very temperature sensitive.”

Phase One, costing $18.3 million, extends from the Commonwealth Railway to Helen Street. Construction started in September 2011.

Phase two — $9 million — continues to the Chesapeake line, whence the city of Chesapeake will extend the project along Portsmouth Boulevard to Interstate 664.

Design plans for just under one-third of Chesapeake’s portion of the project were presented during a joint public hearing for both cities on Dec. 13, city of Chesapeake spokeswoman Elizabeth Vaughn wrote in an email.

“We are currently working towards 60 percent completion of the plans,” she wrote, adding it is anticipated that target will be met by the end of February.

While the city of Suffolk has sent letters of intent to compulsorily acquire 30 properties for its second phase of the project, Chesapeake is yet to begin the process. “We anticipate beginning … in June 2013,” Vaughn wrote.

She added construction on Chesapeake’s portion should begin in September 2014, with completion targeted for a year later.

Meanwhile, “force main offset” work by Hampton Roads Sanitation District was completed on Dec. 13, which will now allow the city of Suffolk’s project contractor to install pipes under Nansemond Parkway near the Shoulders Hill Road junction, George wrote.

The work is expected to permanently fix flooding that has plagued the intersection this year and stranded workers from Northgate Commerce Park. The twin 58-inch by 91-inch pipes should be installed by the end of January, George added.

The city of Suffolk has contracted engineering firm Clark Nexsen to design Phase Two. According to comments from city Public Works Director Eric Nielsen in June, the process should be complete by about May.

Right-of-way acquisition would then begin, taking about another year, with construction starting, according to Nielsen’s earlier comments, in the spring or summer of 2014.