Town urges 460 relief

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Windsor asks for town inclusion in safety study

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

WINDSOR — Expanding a traffic safety study to include Windsor is the subject of a letter being drafted to VDOT by the Windsor Town Council.

The Council is prompted by the Southern Environmental Law Center, which two years ago submitted a study showing how a center turn lane could be worked into the portion of Route 460 that runs through town. SELC recently sent letters to VDOT last fall and in March outlining how improvements could be made to the portion of Route 460 that runs through town. 

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The town’s letter would also ask that a solution be sought for Windsor’s six-way intersection, said Mayor Rita Richardson at the April 10 Town Council meeting. 

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Richardson wants to suggest that improvements be divided into sections, as smaller projects are more likely to make it through the state’s Smart Scale standardized financing program. 

In February, VDOT revealed proposed improvements for Route 460, but nearly all were for the portion of highway east of the Town of Windsor. The only improvements for Windsor were east of Old Suffolk Road, which called for adding a turning lane and clearing out ditches. 

In a March 1 letter to VDOT, SELC senior attorney Trip Pollard said his organization was concerned that the state has left the town of Windsor out of its most recent improvement plans as that is where some of the biggest safety and traffic issues are located along the corridor. 

In an earlier letter to VDOT in October, Pollard cited a study completed by traffic engineer Walter Kulash, but offered further, scaled-down improvements that take current financial constraints into consideration. Those suggestions include adding left-turn lanes at certain key intersections and approaches, rather than a continuous center lane through town, better access management and sidewalk improvements. 

Pollard also called for reconfiguring the six-way intersection not only as a safety fix, but also as a way to “reinvent” the center of Windsor’s business district. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center has eyed the improvements proposed for Route 460 over the past decade or so and has issued many recommendations as plans evolved from a high-speed limited access toll road between Suffolk and Petersburg to a bypass around the town of Windsor to the latest plans for improvements along the existing roadway within the city of Suffolk to the east of the town of Windsor. 

Pollard said the organization continues to be interested in improvements along Route 460 as they relate to environmental concerns, as well as a way to revitalize the town of Windsor. 

Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings told the council that a letter to VDOT will be available for review at its April 24 meeting, which is also to deal with the town’s budget.