Transportation needs topic for community meeting

Published 10:28 am Friday, June 22, 2018

Southampton County residents who own property along or near U.S. Route 58 between Camp Parkway and Jerusalem Road have been notified about a community meeting that concerns transportation issues. The event is scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and will be in the Board of Supervisors meeting room at the county administration building.

In the notice from county administrator Mike Johnson, the meeting location and time are prefaced by an explanation of how the state decides which road projects deserve attention:

“Transportation needs in Virginia are always greater than the funds available to address them. To find a better way to balance transportation needs and prioritize investments for both urban and rural communities, beginning in 2014, the Commonwealth Transportation Board developed an objective outcome-based process that has come to be known as ‘SMART SCALE.”

This figures in important factors such as accessibility, congestion reduction, economic development, environmental issues and land use.

“The evaluation focuses on the degree to which a project addresses a problem or need relative to the requested funding for the project,” the letter continues.

Further, the message’s recipients are told that three potential projects have been identified over the past several years to improve safety on that area of the highway. The following ideas are still only concepts. To further emphasize the matter, “Each one requires further detailed planning, environmental due diligences, right-of-way acquisition and preliminary and final engineering before construction be considered.”

The biennium deadline is Aug. 1 this year, and the Southampton County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to discuss three candidate projects that Johnson will review at the meeting on Monday, June 25. That session begins at 7 p.m. in the same aforementioned location. Any decision about submitting any project, or even none at all, could be decided at the board’s meeting on Monday, July 23.

• The first concept would involve construction of a “frontage road” behind existing businesses on the south side of Route 58 between the new Courtland interchange and Pulley Drive. A similar frontage road could be built on the north side of Route 58 between Storys Station Road and the interchange.

• The second concept would involve conversion of the existing eastbound lanes to a frontage road serving the businesses along the south side of Route 58 from Jerusalem Road to Courtland. An intersection referred to as an R-Cut would offer connectivity from the frontage road to Route 58. The existing westbound lanes would be converted to eastbound lanes along the 0.8 mile section, and new westbound lanes would be added to the north side of Route 58. A second R-Cut would be build at the existing stoplight at Hardee’s.

• The third concept would involve construction of a bypass on the north side of Route 589 from Camp Parkway to the new Courtland interchange. This would include grade separated interchanges at Camp Parkway and Story’s Station Road, and a connection from the new Courtland interchange to the bypassed segment of Route 58.

Staff from both the County and the Virginia Department of Transportation are anticipated to be at the community meeting to discuss the ideas, answer questions and get input from residents.