Roadway expected to expand

Published 10:26 pm Friday, September 2, 2016

Plans to expand Nansemond Parkway and its Chesapeake neighbor, Portsmouth Boulevard, into four-lane roads are moving ahead.

The city is planning to expand Nansemond Parkway and Portsmouth Boulevard into four-lane roads.

The widening is in response to the growth of traffic in the North Suffolk area, said Sherry Earley, the city’s public works engineering manager.

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Nansemond Parkway will be widened from Helen Street to the Chesapeake city line. It has previously been expanded from Helen Street west to the railroad tracks.

Portsmouth Boulevard will be expanded from the city line to Jolliff Road.

In addition, the project will address safety concerns. There will be sidewalks and a 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail installed. Other features will include a raised median with protected turn lanes, enclosed drainage, curb and gutter and storm water management features.

Construction bid requests were advertised in August and are due on Sept. 28, according to Earley. The city of Chesapeake will manage the construction contract.

Once the contractor has been selected, the contract entails a 540-day completion schedule, according to Earley. The city of Chesapeake anticipates construction will begin around mid-December with an expected completion date around July 2018.

The increased traffic to Suffolk can be attributed to the addition of Interstate 664. The connectivity has attracted thousands of commuters to the area, including retired military and those migrating from the busier cities up north.

“This is a great place to live and raise your family,” said Thomas Moore, Virginia Realty broker and owner. “People come here to beat the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach and Norfolk. It’s quiet, country living.”

In fact, between the years 2000 and 2014, Suffolk has experienced the greatest population growth rate among Hampton Roads cities at 35.8 percent, according to data on the city’s economic development website.

By 2040, the city’s population is expected to increase by more than 30,000 to 132,187, according to the city’s data.

There are expected to be “increased densities in growth areas” in North Suffolk over the next two or three decades, said Robert Goumas, the city’s interim director of planning and community development.

Goumas added the city’s comprehensive plans hope to maintain the rural landscape yet encourage industrial development in the growth areas.

“We’re an attractive location for business and residential growth and living,” he said.