Wishing on STARS? VDOT study targets College Drive, Harbour View Blvd. for improvements

Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Will the Virginia Department of Transportation’s STARS study provide needed traffic improvement for College Drive and Harbour View Boulevard, or will it be wishful thinking?

VDOT is looking at ways to improve traffic safety and mobility through its Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions survey for roads and intersections with traffic signals along College Drive from Lake View Parkway to Gateway Drive/Champions Way and the Hampton Roads Parkway at the Hunters Court intersection in Suffolk.

The study area is 2.32 miles, with about 1.11 miles along College Drive, 0.85 miles along Hampton Roads Parkway and 0.36 miles along Harbour View Boulevard.

There are about 22,000 vehicles per day on College Drive in both directions between U.S. Route 17 at Bridge Road and Lake View Parkway, and about 20,000 vehicles daily use Harbour View Boulevard in both directions between Gateway Drive/Champions Way and Hampton Roads Parkway.

The study is expected to offer targeted improvements to improve safety, traffic and congestion. VDOT is considering improvements such as optimized traffic signal timing and operations, “innovative” intersections, access management and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

An online survey is available through Jan. 12 at http://metroquestsurvey.com/qe7b7o.

The survey asks questions such as how often and why people use College Drive and Harbour View Boulevard, the level of congestion in those areas and when it happens, challenges in accessing those areas, pedestrian and bicycling issues and safety in the corridor. It also asks people to prioritize what they feel are the biggest issues in the area.

Comments on the study can also be submitted in writing — referencing “College Drive/Harbour View Boulevard Study” — by contacting Jerry Pauley, 7511 Burbage Dr., Suffolk, VA 23435 or at jerry.pauley@vdot.virginia.gov

Bridge Road survey in January

VDOT says it will have a separate survey in January to look at similar issues on Bridge Road near the study area coming soon. As of December, the study team is in the final stages of developing proposed recommendations on that corridor.

This survey will get feedback on ideas to improve travel conditions on Bridge Road. A different survey will be done for the part of Route 17 in Isle of Wight County in the spring.

Intersection improvements

More road improvements are coming to North Suffolk.

A $24 million project will see Bridge Road widened from four to six lanes along a one-mile stretch beginning about 2,000 feet west of the intersection with Shoulders Hill Road and continuing about 3,300 feet east of the intersection in the highly-congested North Suffolk area.

It will include a triple-left-turn lane off of Bridge Road onto Shoulders Hill Road, and Shoulders Hill Road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes for about 1,500 feet south of the intersection. Minor improvements are also slated for Knotts Neck Road for about 300 feet north of the intersection.

More than 36,000 vehicles per day travel westbound Bridge Road, with about 17,000 vehicles per day moving on Shoulders Hill Road. By 2042, city officials estimate a doubling of traffic on Bridge Road, and a 50% increase in traffic on Shoulders Hill Road.

The project will also include a free-flow right turn lane from northbound Shoulders Hill Road onto Bridge Road, right- and left-hand turn lanes on Bridge Road, a left-turn lane on Shoulders Hill Road and a shared right and left turn with a through lane on Knotts Neck Road.

The new intersection will also include a new lighting system, with lights on the medians and on Shoulders Hill Road, with “smart eyes” on top of the lighting providing the city with real-time information on how well lighted it is.

The Bridge Road intersection with Crittenden Road is also targeted for improvement, and

City Council has approved a resolution calling on VDOT to secure money to design and build a new Kings Highway Bridge, with current estimates at $186.3 million.

Another project, the widening of the Mills Godwin Bridge on Bridge Road, has been designated a regional and VDOT priority.