Roadway expansion on schedule

Published 9:56 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

A multi-million-dollar partnership that includes Suffolk and Chesapeake and will reduce traffic congestion between the two is proceeding on schedule.

The work began when crews received notice in April to begin expanding Nansemond Parkway and its Chesapeake counterpart, Portsmouth Boulevard into four lanes. Nansemond Parkway, which was previously widened from Helen Street west to the railroad tracks, will expand from Helen Street to the Chesapeake city line. Portsmouth Boulevard will be expanded from the city line to Jolliff Road.

The project is expected to be complete in 18 months.

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MBP Consulting is partnering with contractor Branscome Inc. and the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk for the $27 million project that’s supported by the Virginia Department of Transportation and federal funding.

Traffic will be redirected onto the new eastbound lanes on Portsmouth Boulevard when crews begin work on the westbound lanes in late November, said Earl Sorey, assistant director of public works for Chesapeake.

Contractors have so far focused most of their efforts on Portsmouth Boulevard due to the mostly underdeveloped property on that side of the city line. Fewer driveways and less traffic from businesses allowed for faster work in the first phase of construction, Sorey said.

He said that the entire project is still scheduled to be completed simultaneously in fall 2018. The only minor issue discovered so far in the construction was a need for more excavation because of ground material such as clay.

He said this clay needed to be removed and replaced with fill that’s less likely to swell, compact and create issues down the road, like sand.

“It’s just not something you want to build a road on top of,” he said.

Sidewalks and a 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail will be installed to address safety concerns. There will also be a raised median with protected turn lanes, enclosed drainage, curb and gutter and storm water management features.