Road improvements planned near Bacon’s Castle

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Improvements to an intersection near Bacon’s Castle in Surry County are on VDOT’s to-do list.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback about the work, which will add new left turn lanes on Route 10 (Colonial Trail East) that turn onto Route 617, a new right turn lane on Route 617 to turn onto Route 10, and some land clearing to improve sight distances at the intersection for approaching traffic. Route 617 is also named Bacon’s Castle Trail to the north and White Marsh Road to the south.

Through traffic in both directions and access to all properties will be maintained during construction, which is not scheduled to start until early 2024; the project is currently in the design phase. It will cost an estimated $6 million, and funding is fully in place.

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“Right now, the design is under development and we’re about to solicit some input from the public about the project, and once we get the input, we’ll progress with the project development,” said Ken McKinna, VDOT’s project manager for location and design in the Hampton Roads District.

McKinna and VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Alvord said the road improvements will not affect Bacon’s Castle, which dates to 1665 and is considered the oldest brick dwelling in North America. The home played a key role in the Colonial-era conflict Bacon’s Rebellion.

The historic property “is a rare example of High Jacobean architecture” according to Preservation Virginia, the privately funded organization that owns the property, which also features vintage outbuildings, such as a 1830 slave dwelling and a period-appropriate English-style formal garden.

The intersection also is a route to access Dominion Energy’s Surry Nuclear Power Station. “Because the power plant is there, there’s a lot of left turns coming from the Surry direction down to the power plant. Putting a left turn lane gets all those left turning vehicles out of the through lane,” McKinna said.

VDOT says the average daily traffic on Colonial Trail East is about 5,800 vehicles; by 2045, the projected traffic is 9,400 vehicles. Bacon’s Castle Trail currently has average daily traffic of 1,200 vehicles, with projected growth to 1,600 vehicles, while White Marsh Road serves 120 vehicles per day, with projected growth to 160 vehicles.

VDOT will accept comments and questions about the project from Oct. 28 through Nov. 6. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is encouraged to submit questions and comments virtually by email, phone or through a form on the project’s website, which has background documents and further information. The project website can be accessed from VDOT’s Hampton Roads webpage.

Although no public hearing is planned, VDOT may hold one at the public’s request if the agency determines that concerns regarding this project cannot be satisfied through the online comment process. The public may also leave a phone message at 757-956-3271, send an email to or send written comments to 7511 Burbage Drive, Suffolk, VA 23435 to the attention of Kenneth McKinna. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Nov. 6.