Planning will ask board to drop third road option

Published 11:06 am Friday, July 20, 2018

The Southampton County Planning Commission agreed on July 12 to ask the Board of Supervisors to drop the third of three options for proposed roadwork on Route 58 in the Courtland area.

As previously reported, that concept would have required building a bypass on the north side of Route 58 from Camp Parkway to the new Courtland interchange. This would have included 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.

That plan and the other two were reviewed by the supervisors at last month’s meeting. They could have voted to apply for any of the concepts — or even said no to all — to be weighed for consideration by the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Smart Scale. Projects are evaluated for their feasibility, cost and effectiveness before deciding whether or not to proceed with them.

Also during the supervisors’ meeting, they were asked by a representative of the Virginia Department of Transportation to drop all three for now until work is completed at the Courtland Interchange.

To that, the board agreed, and because Smart Scale applications are only done every two years, the options would not be available until 2020.


Even with a ‘grace’ period of two years, some residents worry that the third option could resurface later and even take hold. That, some residents believe, would ruin the existing business corridor on Route 58 between Story Station Road and the new interchange. Among those people is John T. “Jack” Randall, vice chairman of Planning. He excused himself from the panel owing to potential conflict of interest as he has property in the area. Randall said the Airway Shopping Center in Isle of Wight County was ruined by the bypass. To build that third option would “decimate the only business corridor in the [Southampton] county.”

Presently, the shopping center where his law office is located is nearly at full capacity, and his storage units are full. Randall said he’s entertaining the idea of expanding development, but “as long as that option is on table, I’m not going forward. Eliminate option 3. Nothing good that’s going to come from it.”

Supporting that request was Jane Riddick-Fries, family owner of The Peanut Patch and Feridies plant. She made three requests: First, to ask the commissioner to ask the board to take Concept 3 completely off table. Second request, that Planning ask for further clarification of concepts 1 and 2 and have public hearing for input now versus in 2020. Third, the commissioner should find out if something has changed in the comprehensive plan as far as the 58 corridor is concerned.

“My family has been in business since 1973. When the bypass was built, we went to the 58 corridor,” she said. “I feel there are lot of players and we’re not on the same page. Sadly, I feel that those of us who have made a business here are not being heard or represented.”