This report is from a public meeting regarding proposed improvements to the 2-lane segment of US 17/Dominion Blvd in Chesapeake, VA. The meeting was held on November 18, 2004.
Went to a public meeting yesterday in Chesapeake regarding a study and
proposed improvements to US 17/Dominion Blvd in Chesapeake. As the city of
Chesapeake is lead agency on the project (and not VDOT), there wasn't anything I
could find on the VDOT website about it. Didn't even know about the meeting
until I read the Virginian Pilot yesterday:
The Pilot also ran an article today on the meeting itself:
The city has a webpage up now:
Some notes from the meeting:
- The city has contracted Parsons Brinkenhoff to help conduct the environmental studies and preliminay design, and there were a number of PB staff on hand at the meeting. According to one staff member I spoke with, they are going with an Environmental Assessment instead of an EIS.
- Much of the meeting focused on replacement of the "Steel Bridge", the low level drawbridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. There are 3 options for replacing the bridge: a 65-foot clearance fixed-span, a 65-foot moveable span, and a 95-foot fixed-span. There are two crane-operations on the east side of Dominion Blvd that are driving the need for the 65-ft moveable and the 95-ft fixed spans. If those operations could be moved to the west side of Dominion Blvd, the 65-ft fixed span would become much more viable. This is an option to consider as the 65-ft fixed span option is $14 million less than the 95-ft fixed option and $31 million less than the 65-ft moveable option. Plus, with a moveable span, there would be higher operational costs due to more need for maintenance plus the need for a bridge tender.
- A 65-foot clearance span would be 4,440 feet long with a 4% grade to the south and a 3.25% grade to the north. A 95-foot clearance span would be 5,030 feet long with a 5% grade to the south and a 4% grade to the north. The reason for the slightly steeper grade to the south is due to the proximity of Cedar Rd and nearby development on that side of the waterway.
- A bike-ped path was not being considered with the bridge. Several attendees, including myself, made the suggestion to include a bike-ped path with the bridge design.
- The bridge wasn't the only part of the public meeting. The overall project covers US 17/Dominion Blvd from VA 168/Oak Grove Connector to just south of VA 165/Cedar Rd. There are two primary phases for the project. The "interim phase" would build a new "Steel Bridge" and upgrade US 17 to a 4-lane expressway. There would be signalized at-grades at VA 190/Great Bridge Blvd (already existing), a combination Dominion Lakes Blvd/realigned Bainbridge Blvd, and at Cedar Rd (also already existing). There would also be a few right-in/right-outs between Great Bridge and Dominion Lakes.
- The "ultimate condition" would upgrade US 17/Dominion to a 4-lane freeway by removing the right-in/right-outs and constructing interchanges at the three signalized intersections. I took a look at 2029 traffic projections, and they are low enough to where a 4-lane freeway would operate at LOS D during the peak hours.
- There are two interchange options each at both Cedar Rd (A1/A2) and Great Bridge Blvd (C1/C2)...a tight diamond and a SPUI. Both Great Bridge options also involve building a new ramp from NB US 17 to SB VA 168.
- There are 3 options at Bainbridge Blvd/Dominion Lakes Blvd. Option B1 would build a tight diamond interchange at the relocated Bainbridge Blvd/Dominion Lakes Blvd location. Option B3 would build a folded-diamond (off-ramp loops) just north of the existing Dominion/Bainbridge intersection...much of the ramp length here would be bridged as the interchange would be on the north end of the proposed "Steel Bridge" span. Access at Dominion Lakes Blvd would be closed under this option.
- Option B2 is different from the above two in that the alignment of US 17 would be shifted slightly to the west to avoid homes on the east side of Dominion in the vicinity of Dominion Lakes Blvd. A tight-diamond would be built at relocated Bainbridge/Dominion Lakes. Understandably, the residents of Dominion Lakes prefer this option, and there was one neighborhood resident handing out flyers at the meeting entrance asking people to support the B2 alternative.
- Unfortunately, there were no cost estimates for the interim expressway phase, and I forgot to ask what they would be. They would run at least $100 million, though, since the bridge is driving most of the cost for the overall project. Cost estimates for the ultimate freeway configuration range from $135.5 million (A1/B1/C1, 65-ft fixed) to $196.5 million (A2/B3/A2, 65-ft movable).
- Both C-options have the same number of displacements, 9 residential and 3 business. Overall residential displacements range from 14 (A2/B2) to 23 (A1/B1). Overall business displacements range from 4 (A2/B1) to 8 (A1/B3).
- My personal preference (and what I submitted in my comments) is for A2/B2/C2 with a 95-ft fixed span. This option would cost $161.2 million and have 14 residential and 6 business displacements. I also made the suggestion to add a bike/ped facility to the bridge.
Got an E-mail from the project manager yesterday (November 19, 2004). The "interim" phase would cost $104 million using the 95-ft fixed bridge option. That'd put the interim 65-ft fixed bridge option at about $90 million and the interim 65-ft moveable bridge option at $121 million.
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