460 project could close Murphys Mill bridge

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The new alignment of U.S. Route 460 could require closing a portion of Murphys Mill Road to make way for a high-speed connection between the new toll road and U.S. Route 58.

The bridge that carries part of the road could need to be closed, project manager Philip Rinehart of the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

An original design that would have created a quarter-cloverleaf interchange design is too tightly packed to be feasible, Rinehart told City Council members in a work session Wednesday. It also would slow traffic switching from the Route 58 bypass to Route 460, both high-speed roads.

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“This is a high-speed connection,” Rinehart said of the redesigned proposal. “It really makes sense to do something of this nature.”

A connector road between Murphys Mill Road and the existing Route 460 also is proposed.

The new, tolled Route 460 is a top transportation priority for the state. The $1.4 billion project will be constructed by US 460 Mobility Partners and will parallel the existing Route 460 on the 55-mile trek from Suffolk to Petersburg.

Officials hope its construction will solve a number of problems — unemployment, increasing freight traffic, too-heavy reliance on the region’s water crossings and a hurricane evacuation route that frequently floods.

“Sometimes it takes weeks for the existing 460 and some of the secondary roads to dry out,” Rinehart said, adding the new road will be constructed above the 100-year flood plain.

A public hearing on the design of the project is set to be held by the spring of next year. Acquisition of property needed for the project is set to begin next year, and construction will take place in 2015-2017.

Councilman Charles Parr said during Wednesday’s meeting that the new design — which is not set in stone, Rinehart added — looks nicer than the previous design.

“It looks good to me,” Parr said.