Nansemond moves closer to completion

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A joint effort to reduce roadway congestion between Suffolk and Chesapeake is expected to reach completion in the last week of October, according to Earl Sorey, Chesapeake’s assistant director public works.

Crews began working in April 2017 to expand 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.

Most of the work right now is on the Suffolk side of the project, including paving and roadway markings, signage and landscaping, Sorey said. Crews have been making consistent progress with just a few days of delay due to preparations for Hurricane Florence recently.

Email newsletter signup

“We were all very fortunate that the storm turned south,” Sorey said. “We wouldn’t even be discussing an October completion had the storm come this way.”

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

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

Those drainage features were adjusted over the course of the project to save a beloved oak tree on the site. The original plan was to remove the tree to make build a retention pond at that spot, until residents spoke out against that prospect. Sorey said that the tree is doing well under the watchful eye of a certified arborist. The tree is likely hundreds of years old and is considered to be the fifth-largest, living oak tree in Virginia.

“It’s really one of the positive outcomes of the project,” Sorey said about saving the tree.

Drivers are advised to be mindful of crew members when they pass through the construction zone. It’s been a long time coming since the plans were first set in motion, but crews are getting closer each day to realizing this partnership between Suffolk and Chesapeake, Sorey said.

“It’s very satisfying to see all of this coming to fruition now,” he said.