VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The debate on improving Sandbridge Road and extending Nimmo Parkway has reignited.
On Wednesday evening, the City of Virginia Beach hosted a public hearing at Three Oaks Elementary School. It was an open house-style event where members of the community could stop by and look at a video presentation, as well as photo displays of the proposed project, which is called the Nimmo Parkway Phase VII-B Transportation Project. Engineers and city planners were also there to answer questions.
This project has been in discussion since the ‘70s, according to city developers.
The current project involves constructing a two-lane undivided roadway with shoulders, on-road bike lanes and a single shared-use path.
"All the way from Albuquerque Drive where Nimmo Parkway terminates now and it would go from there all the way to essentially to the beach at the intersection of Sandbridge Road and Sandpiper Road," described Ryan Johnson, project manager for the City of Virginia Beach. It would also go over Asheville Bridge Creek.
Dave Jarman, transportation division manager for the City of Virginia Beach, explained the City has made smaller safety improvements over the years — but more is needed.
“The reality is we need a more dependable access in and out of Sandbridge,” Jarman said. “We need something that isn’t going to be flooded every time the wind tides blow or we get a really bad thunderstorm. We need something that is resilient in case a hurricane is coming so we can get people in and out, and we need something that we’re not going to have to be dependent on the base, the Dam Neck Base, to get in and out of if the road is closed.”
Some residents and environmental groups are opposed to the addition. Wednesday night, representatives with Lynnhaven River Now, Wetlands Watch, and Back Bay Restoration Foundation were outside the school handing out literature showing why they feel the proposal is a bad idea.
A flyer from Back Bay Restoration Foundation states “it would undermine years of effort to protect the Refuge’s wetlands.” It also read “This project would set a damaging precedent for paving new routes through the regions remaining undeveloped areas, rather than upgrading vulnerable roads to make them resilient to flooding.”
On Thursday, News 3 went to Sandbridge to ask locals what they think of the project. Most were in favor of it.
"It’s no longer just a convenient way to get us to Sandbridge, it’s a necessary way," said Elaine Fekete. "It’s one of the only areas I can think of in all of Virginia Beach that has only one ingress and egress. So, one car in the ditch can cause you to miss work, not be able to get to and from your job, or if there’s an emergency medical situation down here, and no one can get to us, we’re out of luck."
At the public hearing, a comment form was available for residents. It asked questions like “What are the most important elements of this project to you?” and “Do you support the improvements for Nimmo Parkway Phase VII-B project?”
Public feedback is being accepted through June 24.
For more on the project or to give your feedback virtually, click here. Residents can also mail Mr. Ryan Johnson, P.E., 484 Viking Drive, Suite 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23452, or email email@example.com.
Click here to see the City's video presentation.