IW to share in Nike Park Road cost

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors, on Nov. 18, pledged to share half the cost of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s proposed Nike Park Road extension.

The project calls for 1.44 miles of new roadway to extend Nike Park Road from its intersection with Reynolds Drive to Route 17.

The county’s transportation director, Jamie Oliver, had told the board in September that VDOT’s latest cost estimates for the work had come in roughly $4.4 million over the project’s approved budget.

The county had submitted the project for state funding several years ago via Smart Scale, a VDOT formula for evaluating the cost versus benefit of proposed roadway improvements. At that time, the total cost was estimated at $11.6 million, all of which was to be paid by the state.

In September, Oliver warned the project couldn’t move forward unless VDOT demonstrates to the Commonwealth Transportation Board that it has enough funding to cover the project’s new estimated $15-16 million cost. The CTB is a 17-member panel appointed by the governor to oversee Virginia’s transportation projects, including Smart Scale.

Per the resolution the Board of Supervisors passed, Isle of Wight will commit up to 50% of the VDOT shortfall, not to exceed $2.2 million. The resolution was included in the Nov. 18 meeting’s consent agenda, which the board voted unanimously to approve.

Newport District Supervisor William McCarty, who had objected to funding the project in September, made no comments on the matter prior to casting his vote. Speaking to The Smithfield Times via email on Nov. 21, he said comments from area residents helped change his mind.

“This is a project that if missed now, may never again come up as an opportunity as the State changes how these projects are rated and selected,” McCarty said. I had many citizens reach out to me via phone, personal office  visits and on social media, expressing their thoughts on the project. They cited safety on the Route 17 Corridor and the need for better road connectivity for citizens, specifically in the afternoon hours … Some cited the need for safe roads for school busses and the transportation of our children as well as safety in general on roads that impact our citizens.”

 

“The County’s portion will not be due for a couple of years and if the CTB agrees to fund the other major side of the project, we would be fiscally unwise to not move forward as the value to investment ratio is very much in our County’s interest,” McCarty added. “This was another aspect that some citizens reiterated as well to me. … This change in my mind doesn’t change how I feel about having to contribute money to VDOT issues and projects in this regard, and I am seeing things through the eyes of the citizens that I represent.”

According to the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization’s website, as of February the project was slated to begin in August 2023 and be complete by November 2024.