Army Corps grants extension on 460 comment

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Virginians — Windsor and Suffolk residents in particular — have an extra 15 days to mail their written comments on the proposed improvements to Route 460. On Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed the extension from the original date of Tuesday, Jan. 5 to Wednesday, Jan. 20. View the notice at

But project opponent Windsor Mayor Carita Richardson finds those 15 extra days are insufficient for the public.

In an emailed copy of her letter to the Corps dated Dec. 16, she requested a 60-day extension and a public hearing at Windsor High School in the meantime.

“The time period allowed includes two major holidays with many people traveling away from home and participating in numerous festivities with family and friends. Many of them, including the local newspapers, have not even heard about it yet,” she wrote.

On Wednesday afternoon, the mayor said in both an email to Windsor Weekly and a follow-up phone conversation that she had just received an email from the Corps stating it would extend the comment period. She added that nothing about the public hearing request was addressed.

“I’m hoping they [the Corps members] will still hear from enough people to warrant a public hearing.”

But Richardson has another and perhaps greater concern, and that is an apparent change to the proposed project.

Also in her letter to the Corps, the mayor stated that the original notification letter from VDOT Environmental Project Manager Angel Deem “did not tell us that a major change had been made to the previous bypass plan that appears to negatively impact our town and county.”

Richardson said in both the email and on the phone, “They [VDOT] did away with the interchange at 258 and no accommodation for the intermodal park. They had told the County they would try to accommodate their [the supervisors’] wishes on their two issues for support of the project.”

After receiving the letter on Dec. 5, the mayor asked Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings to try to contact Deem for a larger map. That was received on Dec. 8, and Richardson and Stallings were reviewing it on Dec. 9.

“I looked at the map [and saw the changes], but I still wasn’t sure, and tried to call her, but was unable,” the mayor said. “I called another VDOT representative (Location Studies Project Manager Caleb Parks and he told said me ‘Yes, there were no interchanges because of too many wetlands in that area.’”

Richardson said she’s not been able to speak personally with Deem, but has invited her to the Jan. 12 Windsor Council meeting to answer questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

“After we have received the necessary information, we need time to evaluate the impact on Windsor before the Town and residents can make effective comments,” Richardson had also written in her letter.

The mayor expressed her concerns to the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors at the meeting on Dec. 17. Richardson asked the supervisors that they also request more time and a public hearing from the Corps.

“They also indicated they would be sending another letter to VDOT telling them they’re very concerned because VDOT had not included an interchange, and would be withdrawing their support,” she said.

Reached on Tuesday, Deem said that she would not characterize what the mayor interpreted as a change.

“The department is committed to studying access at four locations: the 58 interchange at the eastern end of the corridor [meaning Suffolk]; where the proposed 460 and existing 460 intersect on the east and west of windsor; and the fourth at 258. … the one at the east end is actually closer to the intermodal park,” Deem said. She added that access to the proposed 460 would still be at three of the four locations with the 258 interchange ruled out.

Of Parks’ reported comment on too many wetlands being the reason, Deem said, “Wetlands was not entirely accurate, though certainly the department is looking to balance wetlands impact with transportation needs. The operational analysis was primary in that decision.”

Visit the project website for more information, and stay tuned for future E-Updates. The project team can be reached by toll-free information line at 1-855-460-4600