Newsoms road project awaits drier weather

Published 3:04 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

Shortly after Southampton County supervisor Glenn Updike pointed out the narrow turning radius at the intersection of Statesville and Cypress Bridge roads outside of Newsoms, the board of supervisors contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation to request it use maintenance funds to widen the road.

Updike’s main concern was in regard to the inability of tractor trailers to make a right turn, and instead, semis would drive through the small town.

Winter weather delayed surveyors from assessing the site for several months, however, VDOT’s Laurie Simmons said they were able to formulate a game plan recently. One concern about the site was whether or not the utilities below the roadway and ditches were deep enough that they wouldn’t be impacted by the relocation of the ditch and subsequent widening of the asphalt.

Because power and sewage lines are indeed more than 24 inches below the center of the roadway and at least 48 inches below the lowest part of the proposed ditch, VDOT can finish the project using only maintenance funds. If the utilities were not far enough underground, the project would be required to become a part of the county’s six-year construction project and delayed even further.

VDOT’s first order of business, which began last Wednesday afternoon, was to clean the ditches and pipes surrounding the intersection. Simmons expected it to be finished by that Friday afternoon.

Once the ground dries from last week’s precipitation, the department will begin digging a new ditch, roughly 25 feet from its current location. The hope is to start on this step of the project next week.

From there, the current ditch will be filled in and a 15-foot turn lane will be added to give the intersection a better turning radius.

Simmons estimates that the project will be completed within 45 days of breaking ground. She does not expect any problems with traffic, as the project will be completed at night and the vehicles moved out of the way during the day.

For additional information on the maintenance project, contact Simmons at 925-1647.