VDOT assess intersection, develops gameplan

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In the three months since supervisor Glenn Updike brought the narrow turning radius at the intersection of Cypress Bridge Road and Statesville Road to the board’s attention, the Virginia Department of Transportation — to no fault of its own ­— has struggled to determine a rightful plan of action.

“It’s a safety and convenience issue… and should be a top priority of VDOT,” said Updike, noting that a widened lane would better accommodate the right turns of tractor trailers, and subsequently help them avoid driving through the town of Newsoms altogether. It would also make for a shorter commute for those traveling east of Route 671, he said.

Winter weather has delayed surveyors from assessing the crossroads on several occasions, bu they’ll finally be able to do so this week, according to VDOT spokeswoman Laurie Simmons.

Thus far, the department has determined that it has sufficient right-of-way easement at the intersection to allow for moving the ditches and widening the road. This means that VDOT will not have to buy any land for construction, and therefore can add a turning lane without problem.

The next step will determine whether or not the matter at hand can be resolved as a maintenance issue or if it must be added to Southampton County’s six-year secondary road improvement plan.

With the help of public utilities, VDOT is required to find out how deep the power, gas, water and/or sewer lines are buried underneath the ground – if at all. If present, these lines must be located at least 24 inches below the center of the roadway and at least 48 inches below the lowest part of the proposed ditch.

If, with that information in hand, the project is still considered a maintenance issue, Simmons said that construction could start in the next few months. If not, it will be referred back to the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, who must then add it to the aforementioned six-year plan.