New U.S. 460 would divide Ivor farm

Published 10:15 am Saturday, January 29, 2011

Theresa and Jeffrey Pulley on their fourth-generation Ivor farm, which they understand will be split in half and the buildings, including their home, leveled for the proposed new U.S. 460. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

IVOR—No amount of money could convince fourth-generation Ivor farmer Jeffrey Pulley to give up his land for a new U.S. 460.

“I will lose my home, looks like all of my outbuildings, grain bins, equipment sheds and just the heritage of a 150-year-old farm,” Pulley said. “I will fight as far as we can, financially and emotionally.”

The four-lane divided highway, which Pulley understands will split his farm, is Gov. Bob McDonnell’s top transportation priority, one he hopes will serve as a public-private partnership model for building roads in Virginia.

Last week, it was agreed that three private proposals to build a road of interstate quality between Suffolk and Petersburg would be explored in detail to advance the project. The bidders estimate the new highway would cost $1.44 billion to $1.8 billion and would require tolls from $5.50 to $11 for cars.

Pulley said archeologists have visited his farm on Doles Road, doing preliminary work for the highway.

“There were some other people from the state who marked off the corridor,” said the owner of Cedar Lawn Farms. “It will cut right through and split my farm, which has been in my family for 150 years.”

Pulley, 53, and his wife, Theresa, own 2,000 acres, where they plant cotton, wheat, soybeans and corn. The highway would cut through an 1,100-acre parcel, leaving no access to portions of that parcel.

Dusty Holcombe, deputy director for Virginia Public Private Partnership in Richmond, said the state agency overseeing the Route 460 project would have the right to take the land for fair market value.

“We have to follow state and federal requirements for acquisition,” Holcombe said. “Commonly, we come up with a settlement and payment.”

Jeffrey Pulley believes widening the current Route 460 would be a better solution and even offered to give the state some of his land for such a project.

He also fears for the future of a business he co-owns on Route 460 — Prescription Fertilizer and Chemical Co. Motorists traveling the new highway would only get off at exits; one of the plans does not call for an Ivor exit.

“It’s hard to fight Big Brother, but I will fight as long as I can,” Pulley said. “I would rather not receive the money and keep the land.”