Right-of-way acquisition for Nike Park Road extension nearly complete

Published 5:10 pm Friday, July 28, 2023

Isle of Wight County is slightly behind schedule but soon to finish acquiring right-of-way for a planned extension of Nike Park Road.

According to a project schedule dated Oct. 14, 2022, right-of-way acquisition was to begin Jan. 17 of this year and be complete by July 10. A public notice published in the July 26 edition of The Smithfield Times states county supervisors will hold a public hearing on Aug. 3 to consider a resolution authorizing right-of-way acquisition on a parcel owned by Wakirk Properties.

According to County Administrator Randy Keaton, the Wakirk Properties parcel is the final piece of right-of-way the county needs for the project to proceed. The county is collaborating with the Virginia Department of Transportation to handle right-of-way acquisitions on undeveloped parcels, while VDOT is handling acquisition for parcels that include structures, Keaton said.

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This is the only acquisition that necessitates a public hearing. All others, Keaton said, were settled by negotiation.

According to the published notice, the county will be acquiring “by condemnation” 96,137 square feet of right-of-way, 76,666 square feet of slope and drainage easements, 6,770 square feet of VDOT utility easements and 9,392 square feet of temporary construction easements. Condemnation is the process under state law localities use when acquiring property through eminent domain for public use.

Once all the acquisitions are complete, the next step will be utility relocations, followed by advertisement of the project for construction, Keaton said.

According to the Oct. 14 schedule, advertisement is slated for Nov. 12, 2024.

Plans to extend Nike Park Road so that it connects directly to Carrollton Boulevard have been in the works since 2014 when a corridor study showed commuters from Smithfield were using Titus Creek Drive and Reynolds Drive as cut-through routes to the highway.

The Nike Park Road project entails extending the two-lane street by 1.4 miles and adding a signalized intersection and additional turn lanes where the extended roadway connects to Carrollton Boulevard.

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 roadway improvements, and had received state funding for a then-estimated $11.6 million cost.

In 2021 county supervisors pledged up to $2.2 million to cover half of a projected shortfall in state funding when the cost, as of that year, was projected to rise by $4.4 million.

Since then, the project’s cost estimate has continued to fluctuate. According to Keaton, at the time of the county’s final execution of its cost-sharing agreement in January this year, VDOT had estimated the cost at $16.3 million.

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, as of April 20, listed a $21.8 million cost estimate for the project on its website. VDOT’s six-year roadway improvement program, as of June, listed the project at $19.7 million.

HRTPO spokesman John Mihaly and Keaton each confirmed the project remains fully funded in the HRTPO transportation improvement program and in VDOT’s six-year improvement program.

The current $19.7 million estimate, Keaton said, is funded through Smart Scale grant reserves approved by the 17-member Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:53 a.m. on July 31 with additional information concerning the public hearing.