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City receives money for road projects

The city of Suffolk recently learned it will receive more than $5.3 million for transportation system improvements throughout the city.

The awards cover four different projects and come from a variety of state and federal pots of money, but they all have one good thing in common: they require no local match, Public Works Director Eric Nielsen said last week.

The city will receive $1.65 million for transportation system improvements on U.S. Route 58 from the city line to the bypass, Nielsen said.

The money will help install permanent message boards in both directions to get messages out to the public, Nielsen added.
“If there’s a crash or hurricane evacuation or some message you need to get out to the public, we will have several of those along this corridor that can be remotely programmed,” he said.

The city also will receive about $970,000 for repaving projects. The three sections slate for improvement are on the Holland bypass, about a mile of lanes on the eastbound side of Route 58 near Godwin Boulevard, and about a mile of lanes on the westbound side of Route 58 near Wilroy Road.

“This is in addition to the maintenance payment we get from VDOT,” Nielsen said.

The city will also receive about $1.26 million to link 24 traffic signals on Bridge Road, Harbour View Boulevard and College Drive.

“It’s taking these signals and linking them together so they communicate with each other so we can get better flow of traffic,” Nielsen said. “It should provide better timing so when you’re going down the road you won’t hit one light after another.”

The project will affect lights from College Drive to Eclipse, Nielsen said.

Another benefit to the project will be the ability to remotely program more time for green lights on Bridge Road to move traffic better when there is a major incident on Interstate 664, which typically causes heavy congestion in Suffolk as vehicles head toward the James River Bridge.

Finally, the city received more than $1.4 million to install sidewalks on Portsmouth Boulevard.

East End Baptist Church, which is completing construction on Portsmouth Boulevard, is installing sidewalk along its frontage, Nielsen said. Some retail locations on the road have done so as well. But this project will install sidewalks in between.

“This will kind of connect the dots, if you will, down Portsmouth Boulevard, Nielsen said, adding that the project is a big safety improvement.