Riverkeeper’s observations on proposed new Route 460 project

Published 11:44 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

I want to thank each and every one of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors for doing what I asked at the board meeting Monday night. You made a statement regarding the proposed Rt. 460. That was all I asked for Monday night in front of you. I did not ask you to say you opposed the proposed Rt. 460, but to take a stand. I hope the minutes reflect that. However, with the way the meeting was set up, I was sad to listen to things said that I know not to be true and not be able to correct them. I guess it has to be that way or the meeting would possibly never end.

So here are my observations and comments from that meeting. One is Supervisor [Barry] Porter stated that all the people over there in Norfolk? were “for” this 460 project. What I could not understand is why does Mr. Porter care what the people he does not represent or people from not within this county think about the 460 project? I would think he would want to know the pulse of the people from Southampton county or even more so those in his own district. Maybe Mr. Porter does not know about The Tidewater News poll currently happening on their website. As of this writing it is 68 percent against the road, 18 percent for it and 10 percent did not know.

Moving on, I know we have to hope the folks building the road give us good info. We hope they do not willfully mislead us. However, what’s the difference? Regardless [of] their intention, if we get bad data or information we make bad choices. Here is an example: The people selling us this road are constantly stating that we need a new 460 for evacuation from the Norfolk area because the old 460 floods. Well, yes it does and it needs fixing. But the truth of the matter is you evacuate before the hurricane. There is no flooding on the old 460 before the hurricane gets here. Anybody that has any REAL knowledge of that issue is aware that it takes at least a couple of days for the water to build up in the swamp and cross the road…AFTER any evacuation would have been done. So are the peddlers of this new 460 just ignorant about that, or are they just trying to get another impulse-selling technique across to ya?

You each will have to decide that. Oh, also be aware that giant mountain of dirt on Brittles Mill Road the 460 Mobility Partners is calling a “test embankment.” Well, it just so happens it’s right there where there will need to be an exchange. When I asked the Army Corps of Engineers about it they had no idea what it was. I guess if the builders call it a test, then they can still move forward with building the road under the radar sort of. I mean they have already spent $200 million, sorta under the radar and without USACE approval. Why did an asphalt plant get built over that way? Mmm, wonder if it was to pave a new 460? Wonder who guaranteed that investment in Va. government? Make your own decisions, but it’s just this whole 460 project is just dirty, kinda slimy. Seems odd how time after time we hear or find out about these things kinda on the down-stream side?

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.