City plans roundabout for N. Suffolk site

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The city of Suffolk is considering placing a roundabout at the corner of College Drive and Armistead Road as part of its transformation of a nearby parcel of real estate, Wednesday’s Economic Development Authority meeting heard.

The EDA owns a 55-acre parcel between Interstate 664 and College Drive, bounded on the north by Armistead. A contractor already has cleared some trees from the site, and the city now is working on plans for land use, transportation and utilities, among other things. The city hopes to attract a variety of different types of development to the site.

The transportation plan takes precedence because it affects every other plan, Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve been spending a lot of time on the traffic design,” he told EDA members.

A roundabout solves a number of problems, particularly the intersection’s close proximity to where city leaders hope the main entrances to the site will be.

“This creates a movement where people can flow a little freer,” meaning traffic won’t be backed up past the entrances, Hughes said.

Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts said during the meeting that roundabouts result in fewer crashes than a traditional intersection.

“VDOT has really become, in recent years, a proponent of this type of intersection,” he said.

It would also have some intangible benefits, Hughes said.

“There’s an opportunity for landscaping or public art or something to let people know they’ve arrived at this location,” he said.

The traffic improvements will be paid for with Route 17 taxing district funds, Hughes said. A roundabout is expected to be less expensive than an intersection that requires traffic lights.