City launches $ 84 million Highway 58 expansion project – The Suffolk News-Herald
By the volume of trucks and cars on U.S. Highway 58 around 2 p.m. on a rainy afternoon, the need to improve a 3.1-mile stretch of road was clear to those on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony. of the $ 84 million project which is the largest in the city’s history.
It was certainly clear to most of the drivers in the hallway.
Over 10 years in the making, improvements along a busy stretch of road from the west end of the Suffolk Bypass past Sadler Truck Plaza to the new entrance to the 940-acre Virginia Port Logistics Park will include an additional track on either side of Highway 58, intersection and traffic light improvements, and safety improvements for cars entering or exiting the road.
It will also include turning lanes, curbs and gutters, raised medians, improved stormwater systems, and a footpath and sidewalk for pedestrians and cyclists.
“At the end of the day, what we’re doing is modernizing this highway and expanding it,” Acting Director of Public Works Robert Lewis said following the June 3 ceremony.
The current construction estimate is $ 43.3 million, with a further $ 3.7 million having been spent on preliminary engineering and the remainder of the money going towards the acquisition of the influence of about 200 landowners.
Christopher Hall, district administrator and engineer for the Hampton Roads district of the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the project illustrates the level of trust between the agency and the city to achieve it.
Not counting the $ 3.8 billion Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel expansion, Hall said the region has a roughly $ 6 billion to $ 7 billion program, rivaling northern Virginia in the investments in infrastructure.
The Route 58 project, Hall said, is among the region’s two largest.
“It only underscores our ability here, which is unique to the Hampton Roads area,” said Hall, “how much we leverage and rely on our local partners to deliver a large part of our program.”
The relocation of public services was part of the early work of the project, which was divided into four phases. The first phase, lasting six to nine months, consists of laying “temporary” paving on the north side of the road for two new lanes westbound on Route 58. This will provide two lanes of traffic in east and west direction.
The second phase, which is expected to take approximately one year, westbound traffic would move to the “temporary” carriageway and eastbound traffic would move to the old westbound lanes. Contractors are expected to make permanent improvements to the eastbound lanes during this phase.
Once this phase is completed, a third phase will involve moving all traffic to the south side of the median and building permanent improvements to the westbound lanes. Much of the curb and gutter work is expected to take place before redirecting traffic to the exterior lanes in the appropriate direction and building permanent midline improvements in the final phase, which is expected to take an additional nine months.
City Councilor Tim Johnson, whose business Johnson’s Gardens at 3201 Holland Road sits just west of the project area, said the improvements were long overdue, but warned people driving around the area. ” be patient and safe. Suffolk Police are monitoring speeds in the corridor and speed limits have been set at 45 mph.
“It’s high time,” Johnson said. “I think we’re now at the point where we really need to see him move forward as quickly as possible. You don’t have to stay here long to realize that we have to build this road.
He said the project is just the start of much-needed improvements along Route 58 in the city.
“You get to the end of the place, right here near the swamp, we have to pick it up and go all the way to Franklin now,” Johnson said. “The road is bad from my house to Franklin. The state must know. We’re going to need more money and we need to keep expanding. Just fixing this problem will not solve it. “
Lewis recognized it.
“From a city staff perspective, this is the first step,” Lewis said. “We recognize and certainly know that this must continue. We’re still going in the region with VDOT, with the port authority, with the organization HRTAC (Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Council) on how we keep moving west, how do we keep… upgrade (Route 58) so it’s safe for people to drive. “
City officials also touted the potential economic and other tangible benefits of completing the project, noting its impacts regionally, state and even internationally, as well as for the Port of Virginia. Its director, Stephen Edwards, also attended the inauguration. The port promotes its location in part by noting its proximity to highways 64, 664 and 564 and US highways 17 and 58.
Senator Mark Warner, during a visit last month to the Virginia International Gateway terminal in the Port of Virginia, highlighted the role of Route 58 with the port and the entire transportation network in the Hampton Roads area. Road improvements, he said, must continue not only in Suffolk but in western parts of the state such as Patrick County.
The project is also located in a rapidly growing and developing corridor, with a proposed expansion of Sadler Truck Plaza with the new 355,933 square foot distribution center of Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA nearing completion in Virginia Port Logistics. Park, owned by Equus Capital Partners. .
An area along Holland Road and the newly created Enterprise Drive near the new distribution center has been altered to accommodate a convenience store, gas station and two drive-through restaurants. A pumping station project is also underway and a fire station has been proposed. Improvements at the intersections of Manning Bridge Road and Highway 58 were also incorporated into the overall scope of the project.
In future plans, Lewis said the goal will be to link sidewalks and the bike path on the current 3.1 mile stretch to the ring road and downtown.
City officials said there will be community meetings and regular communication throughout the project. Lewis said the project’s prime contractor, Curtis Contracting, is required to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction during rush hour.
“It just means that what could have been done, maybe … faster,” said Lewis, “we must continue to serve our citizens while construction continues.”
City Manager Al Moor recalled the opening of the Suffolk Bypass in 2003 and said the Route 58 project is another important expansion.
“It’s going to be a lot for the city, our local residents,” Moor said, “but more importantly, it’s a corridor to the region as we look at our ports and the trade it brings to the city.”