Finally, a solution to 460

Published 11:57 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

City Council heard proposals for a handful of new road projects at its Wednesday night meeting.

One of the projects was finally a solution to the safety problem on U.S. Route 460.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has done numerous studies on Route 460, especially the area in Suffolk stretching to the Isle of Wight County line. They’ve also held public meetings in both Isle of Wight and Suffolk to get public comment on the problem and possible solutions.

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VDOT has passed down a recommendation, and Public Works was quick to add it to the list of four projects they submitted for VDOT’s new Smart Scale funding.

The proposal suggested an 8-foot shoulder on both sides, 12-foot driving lanes, a 5-foot median and a 2-foot median barrier.

The project was the most expensive out of the four projects proposed, at roughly $52.2 million. However, we believe that price tag is well worth it.

This stretch of road is notoriously dangerous for a few reasons, including narrow lanes and numerous tractor trailers.

Crashes happen regularly, and the road has seen its share of fatalities. It has taken far too long for a solution to happen, but it’s a good thing that a possible solution is in the future.

Widening the roads will give a little more wiggle room when driving next to tractor-trailers, and having the barriers will result in fewer high-speed, head-on collisions.

This was a no-brainer for the City Council to approve, and most of the City Council representatives raved about the improvements proposed for 460.

Now Suffolk has to play the waiting game once they submit the application at the end of August.

VDOT will evaluate projects until December before assigning them a score. There will be a number of public hearings before the Commonwealth Transportation Board approves a six-year plan for localities being awarded money.

Money for projects will begin to be available in July 2019, and it will be spread out over a number of years.

It seems like common sense for VDOT and the CTB to award the funding for the project, and Suffolk will be far safer if they can make the improvements.