Council to schedule hearing

Published 11:01 pm Friday, March 1, 2019

Suffolk City Council will consider a motion at its meeting Wednesday to schedule a public hearing on the proposed $24 million intersection project at Shoulders Hill and Bridge roads.

The public hearing, which would take place March 20 if approved, would be to consider adopting an ordinance that would authorize the acquisition of right-of-way and easements for the project.

More than 200 people turned out to a design public meeting on the project last month at Creekside Elementary School.

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Westbound Bridge Road’s traffic count is currently about 35,000 vehicles per day, while Shoulders Hill Road at that intersection sees about 17,000 vehicles daily. By 2042, city officials estimate traffic could nearly double on Bridge Road, and go up by about 50 percent on Shoulders Hill Road.

The improvements to the intersection would include:

  • Expanding existing travel lanes on Bridge Road from two to three lanes, which will revert to two lanes at both ends of the project
  • Adding an additional turn lane to the two left-turn lanes from westbound Bridge Road to southbound Shoulders Hill Road
  • Expanding southbound Shoulders Hill Road from one to two through lanes, with a right turn into the existing shopping center
  • Adding a through lane on northbound Shoulders Hill Road to Knotts Neck Road, along with a dedicated “slip-lane,” which does not require a stop to go onto eastbound Bridge Road

At a meeting of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Commission, it approved requested changes by the Virginia Department of Transportation to the project. City Manager Patrick Roberts said VDOT was shifting some of its funding sources, and the city was locking in some funding and scheduling milestones.

The preliminary engineering work is set to end April 1, according to the project’s timeline. At that time, right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin for the project. That process is expected to take more than two years, and then another nearly two-year process to do the actual work on the intersection begins in December 2021.

According to VDOT’s revised estimates for the project, it includes $2.9 million for design work, another $11 million for right-of-way and utility locations and then construction would cost $10.2 million.

Other items on the City Council’s agenda include:

  • A motion to schedule a joint work session with the School Board at 4 p.m. March 20.
  • A presentation about a Suffolk Police Department staffing study.
  • An update at the work session on five utility improvement projects within the Chuckatuck and Rosewood areas.
  • An ordinance for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to accept a $95,000 donation from the Obici Healthcare Foundation — $45,000 of which would go to resurface the tennis courts at Booker T. Washington Joint-Use Recreation Center for multipurpose use, and $50,000 that would go toward buying a swing bay, spinner and benches and to assist with upgrades to walkways and landscaping at the Lake Meade Park inclusive playground.