VIRGINIA BEACH — The city will have an information session for residents on Wednesday regarding the proposed extension of Nimmo Parkway to Sandbridge Road.
City officials will be there to answer questions about the project.
The proposed road improvement has long been sought by residents of Sandbridge as an alternative route out of the neighborhood when Sandbridge Road floods. The project was first proposed in the city’s 1986-1987 capital improvement plan — more than 30 years ago.
According to a public notice from the city, the information session will specifically focus on the proposed construction of Nimmo Parkway Phase VII-B, described as “a two-lane undivided roadway with shoulders, on-road bike lanes, and a shared-use path.”
The purpose of the project, according to the city’s CIP, is to improve access to the Sandbridge community by providing an alternative route to Sandbridge Road that is safer and more resilient to flooding.
Andrew Roper, president of the Sandbridge Beach Civic League, described the road project as “long overdue.”
“Just when it seemed like we were getting close to the finish line, something would happen,” Roper said. “Budget cuts, reallocation of funds, some emergency maintenance project on another road — it’s always been something.”
City Council funded the design for the road project as part of the 2017-2018 budget, at a cost of $3.2 million. Construction for the project, according to the CIP, is not slated for budgeting until 2026, at a cost of $21 million.
Roper said he understands that environmental impact studies always take more time — the 1.6-mile road would have to cut through a portion of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and some wetlands — and any project that requires approval from the Army Corps of Engineers will be slowed.
Ryan Johnson, head engineer on the road project, said the city has indeed begun an environmental assessment of construction on the surrounding lands.
But Roper said when Sandbridge Road floods, residents of the area are forced to cut through Dam Neck Base to enter and exit the Sandbridge neighborhood, and wants the city to see this project as a priority.
“It is severely inconvenient” when Sandbridge Road closes and residents are forced to cut through Damn Neck Base, Roper said. “Today it took me an extra 20 minutes just to get to the grocery store.”
Roper said he recalls at least three closures of Sandbridge Road because of flooding since May; two were caused by strong southern wind tides, and the other by rain. But Roper said regardless of the causes, “every closure of Sandbridge Road costs people time and inconveniences their lives.”
The information session is scheduled for Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Three Oaks Elementary School in Virginia Beach.
For information, residents may contact Johnson at 757-385-4131