Together, a bad project can be defeated

Published 10:01 am Friday, February 27, 2015

If you’ve lived in Western Tidewater even for a few years, then you’ll likely recall the brouhaha concerning the Outlying Landing Field. The Navy wanted to build a training place for its jets, and Southampton County was one of the desired spots; Surry and Sussex counties were also considered.

With the force of petitions, an attorney, public meetings, letters to the editor and newspaper articles behind them, the OLF opponents scored a victory of sorts. In mid-November 2013, the Navy announced it was canceling a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the OLF to be placed either in this area or Northeastern North Carolina.

So while there’s been no official declaration of surrender of any kind from the Navy, the OLF opponents showed the military and everyone else that people working together can have an impact. They can fight to keep from being run roughshod over by a corporation or governing body.

Alas, the time has come again for people of Western Tidewater to unite. In this instance it’s against the Preferred Alternative to the Route 460.

The Tidewater News has already made its position clear: stop the project completely. It’s a waste of money, and the new 17-mile path is essentially useless, particularly when it comes to allowing people to effectively evacuate the Tidewater region in the event of a disaster.

And while Windsor Mayor Carita Richardson does not outright ask for the road to be stopped, in her column on Wednesday she clearly outlined the faults with the existing proposal. We recommend you seek it out in print or online at

At the end, she calls on people to speak up:

“The residents of this area and Hampton Roads deserve a safer 460, the wise use of our taxpayer dollars, and support for local economic development that brings good jobs to our area. Please express your ideas on what you want to the media and at the one public hearing that will be scheduled later on the new hybrid plan. A lot of voices need to be heard to make a difference!”

We echo that statement and encourage you to make your thoughts known — over and over and louder and louder for as long as it takes to keep VDOT from deliberately building a mistake and forcing us all to live with it.