Coming to a worn path near you: sidewalks, if the city gets its wish

Three well-worn routes to schools and another that crosses under Interstate 264 at Independence Boulevard would get sidewalks under a request from Virginia Beach for federal transportation funds.

Competition for the money will be significant, however.

“We’ll be happy if we get one or two out of these,” said Phillip Pullen, the city’s transportation division manager. “I hope to get one.”

A Hampton Roads transportation board is expected next week to endorse the Beach’s requests along with those from other cities. After that, it’ll be up to state officials to rank and score and ultimately choose which projects receive money from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program, which is geared toward creating safe routes to school, trails and sidewalks.

Here are the four locations and their details, according to city documents:

  • The west side of Independence Boulevard from the Best Buy shopping center to Alicia Drive on the other side of I-264. The project includes new curb and gutter, accessible ramps, crosswalks and a retaining wall under the overpass. Distance: about 0.40 miles. Cost: $1,075,000. The city would provide a 20 percent match ($215,000).
  • The south side of Providence Road from Kempsville Road to Indian Lakes Boulevard. This is intended to improve safety for school children walking to Providence Elementary and Kempsville Middle schools. The project includes piping the ditch, new curb and gutter, tree removal, utility relocations and driveway replacement. Distance: about 0.60 miles. Cost: $955,000. The city would provide a 20 percent match ($191,000).
  • The west side of West Great Neck Road from Adam Keeling Road to the bridge over Long Creek. This would improve safety and connectivity for people walking between Great Neck Point and Shore Drive, as well as provide connectivity to John B. Dey Elementary and Great Neck Middle schools. It includes a retaining wall, railings, new curb and gutter, tree removal and accessible curb ramps. Distance: about 0.20 miles. Cost: about $890,000. The city would provide a 20 percent match ($178,000).
  • The east side of Salem Road from Salem Lakes Boulevard to Rock Lake Loop. This would improve safety for pedestrians and for children walking to Salem Elementary and connect a heavily traveled walking path. The project includes accessible curb ramps, piping the ditch, utility relocations and  new curb and gutter. Distance: about 0.30 miles. Cost: $500,000. The city would provide a 20 percent match ($100,000).

If the state does select any of the projects, the city wouldn’t receive the money until July 2016, Pullen said. After that, the city could have the work finished by late 2017, he said.

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