460: Nothing funny about this ‘comedy’

Published 9:03 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

To the editor:

Anyone who has followed the Alternative Route 460 project would have to agree that, from start to present, it has been a comedy of errors.

If it were not for the tax dollars wasted, and the towns, businesses and people it is destroying, it would be comical. Actually it is just the opposite — wasteful, disgusting and devastating to those it affects, and disrespectful to truth and common sense.

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The impetus for the project is to provide an evacuation route for Eastern Virginia and North Carolina to Central Virginia. The current plan for the Virginia Beach-to-Petersburg portion of that route is to construct 17 miles of road from Route 58 in Suffolk to the Town of Zuni.

This plan would funnel traffic from six lanes to two at Zuni, the worst flood zone between the coast and Richmond. This project would not only be foolish and wasteful, but also dangerous in times of disaster and emergency.

If you are as perplexed as I am, allow me to give you two reasons why I believe this imprudent plan is being forced on our towns. First, the state, the Commonwealth Transportation Board and Virginia Department of Transportation spent $300 million to $400 million on studies and engineering and never turned a shovel of dirt.

Pride and the threat of embarrassment will not let them walk away with nothing. Now they are saying all that money has resulted in their present plan being the best alternative. Pride is a terrible thing, particularly when it hides truth at the expense of others.

Second, the state, Commonwealth Transportation Board and VDOT prematurely signed a contract with 460 Mobility Partners. The threat of a lawsuit and the loss of significant funds now looms if they do not award something to the contractors.

The process is now down to the final stages. The only ones who can stop this blunder and bring sense and logic to the situation are Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Army Corps of Engineers. I wonder if they have the backbone to do it.

To date, no one with authority has had the courage to stand up and say, “Stop the mistakes here.”

Richard J. Holland Jr.