City applies for Route 58 grants

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization on Thursday lent its support to two grant applications by Suffolk for the Route 58 widening project.

The city plans to apply for $35 million of funding through two grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Thursday’s vote means letters from the regional body endorsing the project will be included with the grant applications.

The 3.1-mile project would widen the road to three lanes in each direction from the western end of the bypass to about .7 miles west of Manning Bridge Road. A median, intersection and traffic signal upgrades and a separate multi-use path are all included in the project.

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Public Works Director Eric Nielsen told the HRTPO board on Thursday that if one of the applications is successful, it would mean a different project could get funded with regional money.

“If we are successful in this grant application, that would free that money up for something else,” he said.

According to the grant application, the corridor will fail to perform at acceptable levels of service by next year. Improvements will support the region’s economic competitiveness, job creation and economic sustainability, as well as quality of life for those who travel the road regularly.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $72 million, Nielsen said. About $34 million in local and state funds already are committed to the project, along with $3.5 million in private dollars from CenterPoint Properties. That money was used to design the project.

CenterPoint Properties owns a large intermodal center along the stretch of road. It currently has three tenants with buildings, and a fourth has recently signed a lease.

On the other side of the roadway, Target’s upstream distribution center recently announced a 600-job staff expansion coupled with a $50 million expansion that will enable the center to serve 688 stores with distribution of items like apparel and accessories.