Windsor mostly left out of 460 fixes

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

By Elizabeth Pattman

Staff writer

WINDSOR — Windsor residents shouldn’t plan to see improvements on Rt. 460 within town limits until the state can come up with more funding.

Improvements desired in town have included a rework of the six-way intersection and a center turn lane along Route 460. 

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VDOT recently hired consultant VHB to study a six-mile corridor of the road and provide recommendations for improvements that would increase safety and decrease traffic. Left out of those plans, however, was the stretch of 460 that runs through Windsor.

Over the many years that Rt. 460 has been discussed, various plans for the road through Windsor have been suggested. All of these plans, however, require funding, which is unavailable. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“I understand what VDOT is doing,” said Windsor mayor Rita Richardson. Richardson explained that the state is facing a limited budget when it comes to roadway repairs in the area. As such, VDOT is relying on the Smart Scale program to prioritize the less expensive projects that can still have an impact. They will continue to move from the 58 bypass towards Windsor, completing projects as they can, according to Richardson.

As far as the repairs proposed for the six-mile corridor of Rt. 460 in Suffolk, Richardson believes the repairs are restricted to smaller, upkeep-focused projects such as repainting lines along the roadway.

“They need to add some turn lanes at least and there are very few proposed,” she said.

For future repairs in Windsor, Richardson said she favors recommendations made by the Walter Kulash study, commissioned by the Southern Environmental Law Center last year. The study called for a center turn lane through downtown Windsor and realignment of the six-way intersection at South Court and Church Streets to make a traditional four-way intersection. The proposed center turn lane would also add an extra lane in the event of a hurricane evacuation.

In planning for any of these future projects, an increase in safety needs to be demonstrated before they can proceed. Richardson has stated that these plans will go through this year’s round of projects with the state, but it could take years before funding becomes available.

Plans to improve Rt. 460, which have changed numerous times over the last decade, have cost hundreds of millions of dollars without any work being completed.

The last plan, which was cancelled last January, called for a four-lane bypass to run north around the town of Windsor.

At one time, plans to make Rt. 460 a 55-mile high-speed, tolled, limited access highway running from Suffolk to Petersburg were discussed. The highway was suggested to run south of Windsor, but those plans were scrapped due to excessive wetlands impacts.

When Gov. Terry McAuliffe came into office in 2014, he reviewed the plans and shortened the road to just 16 miles—from the Rt. 58 interchange in Suffolk to just west on Zuni. This version of the plan included the bypass and a bridge at Zuni to alleviate flooding. Richardson said she and the town of Windsor opposed those plans. The plan failed to score under Smart Scale and was dropped.  {/mprestriction}