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State advances three IW road projects

Three Isle of Wight road projects are among nearly 400 statewide that may move a step closer to fruition.

Improvements are slated for the intersections of Turner Drive and Benns Church Boulevard; Main Street and the Route 10 Bypass; and U.S. 17 (Carrollton Boulevard) and Smiths Neck Road. All three were recently ranked under the state’s Smart Scale program.

This is the fourth round of projects evaluated by Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board. The purpose of the ranking is to prioritize transportation projects based on data points such as improved safety, congestion reduction, improved access to jobs and businesses, economic development, environmental impact and land use.

The Turner Drive/Benns Church project ranked 70th statewide out of 397 projects and 14th in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Hampton Roads District. Its estimated cost is $972,244. This work would consist of improvements to the existing westbound exclusive left-turn lane at the intersection, extending it to 225 feet.

A project to construct a second through lane along the eastbound and westbound approaches of Main Street (U.S. 258) at the Route 10 Bypass has an estimated cost of about $8.45 million. This project ranked 156th statewide and 26th in the district. It would involve construction of a second through lane along the eastbound and westbound approaches, improvements to existing left turn lanes to meet minimum design requirements and sidewalk improvements along West Main Street.

A right turn lane extension at U.S. 17 and Smiths Neck Road in Carrollton would create a continuous exclusive right-turn lane that would begin approximately 200 feet south of Eagle Harbor Parkway, traverse through the Food Lion Shopping Center intersection, and terminate at Smiths Neck Road. This project would cost about $2.78 million and it ranked 282nd statewide and 41st in the district.

The state’s top Smart Scale project is a Suffolk Transit initiative to create a new express commuter bus route between high-employment industrial areas in Suffolk, the city’s Park and Ride and the Victory Crossing Bus Transfer Station. It would cost $357,569. The goal is to provide people who have limited transportation options a way to get back and forth to work.

In a Jan. 21 news release, the Virginia Department of Transportation said there will be public hearings within each regional transportation district, at which the public may comment on the recommended project scenarios. The CTB is expected to act on the final six-year improvement program in June.

“Smart Scale is an objective, data-driven program to select which transportation projects will be developed across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The release of the scores today is the first step in a collaborative process to maximize our resources and advance our multimodal system.”

Once selected, projects are fully funded through construction.

Total funding available for Smart Scale is $1.374 billion. Of that amount, $883.7 million is for the District Grant Program and $490.7 million is for the state’s High Priority Project Program. However, “the funding request for this round of Smart Scale totaled $6.3 billion, signaling that there continues to be a significant need for investments to support transportation solutions,” officials said in their announcement.

All the project scores and additional information about the process can be found at smartscale.org.

The governor appoints members to the 17-person Commonwealth Transportation Board. The board is responsible for approving funding allocations and administrative policies for the state’s transportation system.

 

Staff writer Jimmy Laroue contributed to this story.