Hampton to hold public meeting on Saunders Road project July 12
Hampton is seeking input from residents about the impending project to widen Saunders Road.
For the past 20 years Saunders Road has transformed from a small neighborhood street to a major thoroughfare. Commuters from Hampton, Newport News and York County all now use the two-lane road to drive to and from work.
“Because it’s one of the city’s few east-west connectors, Saunders Road sees a lot of traffic, and it’s only going to grow,” City Engineer Lynn Allsbrook said in a press release. “With the completion of the Commander Shepard Boulevard extension, even more travelers will be using Saunders Road. Widening the road is critical for meeting future traffic demands.”
Residents can give input on project plans at a public meeting from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at the Northampton Community Center, 1435-A Todds Lane. City staff and design consultants will discuss residents’ questions or concerns. Hampton officials estimate that 10,000 vehicles travel Saunders Road per day. For comparison, Tide Mill Lane sees 7,100 vehicles per day, Beach Road 5,300 and Semple Farm Road 3,900. Traffic on Saunders is expected to increase to 24,000 vehicles per day over the next 20 years because of anticipated growth in northwest Hampton, and redistribution of traffic once the Commander Shepard Boulevard extension to Big Bethel Road is completed, according to the release.
Other improvements to Saunders Road will address current roadway safety issues.
“In recent years the gradual increase in traffic volume along the narrow, curving roadway has led to an increase in traffic accidents,” said Cpl. Jason Price of the Hampton Police Division in the release. His department has logged more than 100 traffic accidents on the road in the past five years, three of which caused fatalities.
The city is planning to widen Saunders Road from two lanes to four lanes from Westview Drive to Big Bethel Road. The project will include adding curb and gutter, a raised median, sidewalks, on-street bike lanes, landscaping and street lights. It will require buying 12 properties, with residents in those homes relocating. According to Allsbrook, the acquisitions are necessary because the widened road will come too close to the homes for residents to continue living in them. Affected residents have been notified by the project consultants, Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Acquisition of right of way and temporary construction easements will also be required for an additional 65 parcels, but those residents will not need to relocate. Since this is a Virginia Department of Transportation project, the city will follow VDOT right-of-way acquisition process, which calls for appraisals of affected parcels, negotiations and relocation assistance.
The city plans to start buying acquisition rights in the fall and start construction in late 2014. The estimated cost of this project is $20.5 million, including engineering, right of way and construction costs. The project is funded 100 percent by federal funds.
Those unable to attend the meeting may view project information in the Public Works office, 22 Lincoln St., until July 27. For more information, email email@example.com.