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Port Authority contributes to road improvements near Suffolk warehouse development

Photo by Mariusz Bugno via Shutterstock. Shipping containers at the Port of Virginia in 2021.
Photo by Mariusz Bugno via Shutterstock. Shipping containers at the Port of Virginia in 2021.

The Virginia Port Authority will give Suffolk $1 million toward an estimated $86-million-dollar project to widen Route 460 and reconfigure the intersection with U.S. 58.

That's where Port 460, a controversial 540-acre logistics center, is planned.

The road improvements will support traffic to and from the logistics center. Construction on the center is slated to begin by summer of 2024.

The cost of the road redesign is estimated at $8.6 million Port 460 developer Matan will contribute $6.6 million. Suffolk will match the contribution by the Port Authority to round out design costs.

The construction timeline is unclear, Suffolk Deputy City Manager Kevin Hughes said. Suffolk hasn’t put out a bid to start the design phase. Once design is complete, the city will need to secure rights-of-way and relocate utilities along the stretch of 460, which will cost around $30.1 million.

Hughes said the Route 460 improvements aren’t purely because of the new warehouse complex, or citizen concerns. However, Matan’s funding contributions are a significant step in getting the project across the finish line.

“There's been a need for improvements on 460 for quite some time,” he said.

The Port 460 project was criticized by residents since it was brought to council for a rezoning.

A nonprofit group opposing the center formed and filed suit to stop it from being built. A judge dismissed the suit last summer.

Denise Murden is with Citizens Voice. She told WHRO in 2022 there have long been concerns about truck traffic increasing in the city.

“It's 5 million square feet of warehousing on a 540-acre property that is less than four miles from our downtown…smack dab in the middle of a suburban area,” Murden said.

“It would just completely change the character of this part of the city and the life of many of the residents here.”

In November, council passed new warehouse regulations to address traffic and noise concerns.

Those rules included amending sound barrier and berm options for facilities, clarifying trucking routes, and building in requirements for truck and cab parking to prevent drivers from parking 18-wheelers on public roadways.

Hughes said Suffolk is using the same model it used to widen U.S. 58 and Holland Road, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

Hughes said funding, particularly from the state, is a lot easier to come by now than it was when they began widening U.S. 58.

“With some of these other programs that are now in place…we're proposing not to take such a long time or long road to get to that,” he said.“We think we can very much expedite the process to get to it.”

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