Suffolk bus route would serve Windsor, industrial park

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Isle of Wight supervisors issued resolutions of support on July 21 for four road projects the county intends to submit for state funding, and a mass-transit proposal put forward by the city of Suffolk.

Local applications for the fifth round of Smart Scale, a Virginia Department of Transportation formula for evaluating the cost versus benefit of roadway improvements, are due Aug. 1.

The first submission calls for creating a continuous right-turn lane at Smiths Neck Road’s intersection with Carrollton Boulevard, widening Smiths Neck to provide an additional travel lane and the installation of curb-and-gutter sidewalks. The work would serve as the first phase of a $20.2 million project recommended in a February 2022 VDOT study as a means of reducing travel times.

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In addition to added turn lanes and crosswalks, the $20.2 million project calls for the creation of a third southbound lane on Carrollton Boulevard from the Raceway gas station by the James River Bridge to the highway’s intersection with Brewer’s Neck Boulevard. According to the study, the improvements are projected to save northbound morning motorists 4.5 minutes of travel time by 2030 and roughly 20 minutes for southbound evening motorists.

The second submission calls for converting the existing intersection of Carrollton Boulevard and Sugar Hill Road to a “Continuous Green-T.” The term, according to VDOT, refers to a design that allows one direction of highway traffic to pass through the intersection without stopping. Traffic traveling in the opposite direction is typically controlled by a traffic signal, though the Sugar Hill Road intersection would be designed without a traffic signal, according to the county.

The county’s proposal calls for an extended left-turn lane from Cedar Grove Road back to Sugar Hill Road for the Carrollton Boulevard southbound movement. The existing depressed median would be converted to a raised grass median with curbing.

The third submission calls for widening the shoulders along both sides of Windsor Boulevard in the 1.6 miles between Ennis Mill Road and Lovers Lane in the town of Windsor. The fourth submission calls for doing the same for the 1.3-mile stretch of the four-lane highway between Cut Thru Road and Stave Mill Road west of the town’s limits.

The city of Suffolk is submitting a fifth project in collaboration with Isle of Wight that would establish a Suffolk Public Transit bus route to serve the Windsor Boulevard corridor, with stops in Windsor and at the county’s Shirley T. Holland industrial park. The proposal calls for two buses, one year of operating costs and various bus shelters, benches and other bus stop infrastructure.

In the event each project is approved for Smart Scale funding in June 2023, the state would cover 100% of the estimated cost and the projects would be budgeted to begin in the next six years.