City road projects boosted

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Several local transportation projects got a boost from state and federal coffers with the announcement of the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Six-Year Improvement Program.

State revenue-sharing dollars will be added to the Holland Road widening project, the Kenyon Road Connector and College Drive and Harbour View Boulevard intersection improvements.

“It’s pretty much what we were hoping for,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said about the funding plan Wednesday. “We’re going to work really hard with the (Transportation Planning Organization) to get 58 as high as we can get it.” She noted other jurisdictions have expressed a willingness to work with Suffolk to help bump Holland Road higher in the priority list.

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The plan still must be updated later this year to comply with the new prioritization process signed into law earlier this year. The process requires projects to be selected objectively based on factors like congestion mitigation, economic development, accessibility, safety and environmental quality.

The Holland Road widening project will receive $5 million in state funding. The Kenyon Road Connector, designed to help tractor-trailers navigate the area around the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, will receive $1 million in state funding. College Drive and Harbour View Boulevard intersection improvements will get $250,000 in state funding. Each project requires a local match.

After that infusion of cash, only $34 million would be left to be funded on the $69-million Holland Road widening project, which would increase the road one lane on each side from the western end of the bypass to seven-tenths of a mile west of Manning Bridge Road. All of the remainder would be funded by local taxpayers, according to VDOT’s plan.

Engineering for the Holland Road widening is underway, with right-of-way acquisition set to begin soon and construction to be completed by fiscal year 2022.

Other Suffolk projects for which previously proposed funding was maintained include traffic signal upgrades on Nansemond Parkway and Bridge Road, intersection improvements on the Suffolk bypass and traffic signal coordination in the Harbour View area.

The new Six-Year Improvement Plan, which allocates $13.1 billion to transportation projects across the state during a six-year period beginning July 1, was announced Wednesday.

Several regional projects also were funded well in the new six-year plan, said Camelia Ravanbakht, deputy executive director of Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.

She specifically mentioned the widening of eight miles of Interstate 64 on the Peninsula, from Jefferson Avenue heading west.

“That’s going to be really good for a lot of people, because it’s really congested there, as everybody knows,” she said.

She also picked out the increase of passenger rail trains from Norfolk to Richmond, going from the current one train daily to three trains per day six years from now.

In addition, the state will allocate $520,000 for safety improvements on the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel on Interstate 664.