Route 58 misses governor’s list

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation priorities do not include helping Suffolk widen U.S. Route 58 — or, for that matter, helping it do much else.

The only project on the governor’s proposed list that is anywhere near Suffolk is a proposal to improve a bridge that carries Route 189, South Quay Road, over the Blackwater River at the border of Suffolk and Southampton County.

The governor released his list on Tuesday to highlight the types of projects that could be completed if the General Assembly were to pass legislation he proposed to increase the state’s sales tax and direct a portion of the proceeds collected to highway projects. McDonnell’s plan also would remove the tax on gasoline paid at the pump for all but diesel fuels.

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But the city has made widening the congested Holland Road area between the western end of the bypass and Manning Road its top transportation priority. Two new warehouses have sprung up there in the past year as part of the CenterPoint intermodal development, and more are expected there and elsewhere nearby.

A capital improvements plan set to be considered by City Council next month would commit $36 million to the project during the next five years. However, that money would fund only half the project, at best.

Another project included in the city’s plan would help decrease congestion in that area. Called the Kenyon Road connector, it would run from Kenyon Road across from Paul D. Camp Community College to Holland Road, providing a bypass for truck traffic, especially that associated with the CenterPoint development. That project is expected to cost $7.7 million.

The projects would be financed through a combination of general obligation bonds, federal resources and local cash.

Other area projects in the governor’s plan include a bridge on Route 671 in Southampton County and paving projects in Southampton and Isle of Wight.

The governor’s proposed list also includes expanded train service around the commonwealth, as well as “capacity improvements” to Route 64 between Newport News and Williamsburg and a variety of projects in Northern Virginia.

A representative of the governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.