Council gets update on local road projects

Published 10:37 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

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Two projects to improve roads in different parts of the city are moving forward, Public Works Director L.J. Hansen told City Council Wednesday.

The design work for the combined project of U.S. Route 58/Holland Road from the western end of the Suffolk Bypass to the Manning Bridge Road intersection is complete, and the Virginia Department of Transportation is reviewing it, Hansen said. The cost for both parts of the project is estimated at about $77 million.

All property and easements have been acquired for the projects, which are connected but have two different funding sources and will have separate bids go out. Hansen said the preference would be to have one contractor complete the work.

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Work to relocate electric, natural gas and telecommunications lines is ongoing. Dominion is moving power poles, and gas lines and telecommunications are being relocated, Hansen said.

Hansen said this is likely the biggest project to be done in the city “in a long time.”

“This is a big project, and there are a lot of utilities that are in play here, and some of that relocation is probably going to extend into the construction phase, which is a little bit different,” Hansen said. “It’s not normally how we do a project, but because this is such a big project, and is likely to last for a while, it’s something we’re working on with VDOT to make sure that that goes through.”

It is expected to be put out for bid in May, with a bid award set for July. Construction work would start in the fall, with work to be completed in four phases over a nearly four-year period, according to Hansen.

“We recognize that we need some assistance,” Hansen said. “And so, we are contracting to make sure we have full-time contract and project management available on this. I know that there are going to be questions that folks are going to have about access, transportation management and construction inspection, so we’re currently in the process of having two firms come in — one which will handle project management and one which will do construction inspections.”

The widening project for Holland Road will create a new connector road between it and Kenyon Road on the north side of the Manning Bridge Road intersection, and it will include one additional through lane on each side of Holland Road, with turn lanes, curb and gutters, median, sidewalk, a multi-use path and enhanced stormwater features. There will also be intersection and traffic signal upgrades.

Meanwhile, design work on U.S. Route 17 at the Bridge Road/Shoulders Hill Road intersection is 90 percent complete.

“There’ll be some minor adjustments, but for all intent and purposes, we’re done with design,” Hansen said.

The improvements would expand existing travel lanes on Bridge Road from two to three lanes, reverting to two lanes at both ends of the project. It would also add an additional turn lane to the left-turn lanes from westbound Bridge Road to southbound Shoulders Hill Road, change southbound Shoulders Hill Road from one to two through lanes, with a right turn into the existing shopping center.

The project would also add a through lane on northbound Shoulders Hill Road to Knotts Neck Road, as well as a dedicated “slip-lane,” which does not require a stop to get onto eastbound Bridge Road.

Work has begun to acquire the needed property for the work. Hansen said the city has sent out requests to acquire 28 of the 30 needed parcels, with the other two awaiting a noise study that he expects to be finished by early April. That will allow for utility relocations by the end of this year. Bids would go out for the project in fall 2021, with construction to begin around spring 2022.

“These are the dates we’ve given to VDOT,” Hansen said. “I’m cautiously optimistic we’re going to beat some of these dates.”

Once construction begins, it is expected to take two to two-and-a-half years, Hansen said.

The cost for the project is more than $24 million.

“We should be seeing (the) Holland Road and Bridge Road intersections wrapping up about the same time frame,” Hansen said.