City submits five road projects

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

The city of Suffolk has submitted $242 million worth of roadway projects for consideration for state funding under a relatively new prioritization process.

The state funding program implemented following legislation in the 2014 General Assembly session seeks to prioritize projects statewide based on objective criteria such as whether the projects will reduce congestion, improve safety and enhance economic development opportunities.

“This is an effort by the state administration to really put some technical ranking criteria around transportation in Virginia,” Robert A. Crum Jr., the new executive director of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, said during an introductory session at Suffolk City Council’s work session on Wednesday.

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The five projects Suffolk has submitted for consideration include widening the Route 58 corridor from the west end of the bypass to west of Manning Bridge Road; improving the park-and-ride on Godwin Boulevard near the Route 58 interchange; improving the Route 17 and Shoulders Hill Road intersection; widening the Mills Godwin Bridge; and replacing the Kings Highway Bridge.

All of the projects, with the exception of the Kings Highway Bridge, are consistent with the 2034 Long Range Transportation Plan, according to a letter from the city outlining the projects.

Crum said the next step for the project requests is to receive resolutions of support from the HRTPO at its September meeting.

Local transportation projects are competing for about $120 million of regional money, as well as an additional $600 million of state money, Crum said.

The Route 58 corridor improvements are estimated to cost $35 million for construction. The 3.1-mile strip would be widened to six lanes from the west end of the bypass to 4/5-mile west of Manning Bridge Road. A sidewalk and multi-use trail, intersection and drainage improvements and other features are included in the cost.

The intersection improvements at Route 17 and Shoulders Hill Road would cost $16 million. The intersection currently operates at a “D” level of service and is projected to reach a failing grade by 2018, according to the city letter.

The project would provide additional turn lanes and receiving lanes, stormwater improvements and pedestrian improvements. Previous funding by the Virginia Department of Transportation has been reallocated to other projects in each of the last two years, according to the letter.

The Godwin Boulevard park-and-ride improvements are priced at $380,000 and include stormwater management.

At $96 million, the Mills Godwin Bridge widening is the priciest project on the list. It provides for a second two-lane span of the Mills Godwin Bridge on Route 17. The current two-lane bridge on what is otherwise a four-lane road creates a bottleneck on a major detour route when an alternative to Interstate 664 is needed.

The King’s Highway Bridge would cost $95 million and is needed to replace the former bridge, which was closed and demolished in 2007 because of structural deficiencies. VDOT removed almost $11 million in funding from the project in fiscal year 2011.