Wetlands, wildlife limit options for Sandbridge Road

Sandbridge Road (WAVY/Erin Kelly)

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – With nearby protected wetlands and wildlife areas, as well as drainage ditches just off the road surface, traffic engineers say there is no quick or easy fix to conditions on Sandbridge Road.

Four people are dead after a two-vehicle crash Wednesday night along a windy stretch of Sandbridge Road. Marlo Bayot was driving just before 7 p.m. when police say her Nissan Sentra crossed the center line and was struck by a Toyota pickup truck. Six children were in the car with Bayot, and she and three of the children have since died.

The road is notorious among drivers as dangerous, but the Virginia Beach Public Works Department says it’s not that simple.

Sandbridge Road actually ranks 44th dangerous among 67 similar roads in the city. In a recent traffic study ranking Virginia Beach’s most dangerous stretches of rural roads, Crags Causeway between Indian Creek Road and West Gibbs Road topped the list.

Additionally, City Spokesman Drew Lankford said the city has made some improvement to Sandbridge Road in recent years: “We widened some of the curves, we widened shoulders, we put in reflectors, we repaved areas.”

Lankford said more permanent solutions are either a long way off or financially unfeasible. An extension of Nimmo Parkway would relieve traffic, but take years to complete. Elevating Sandbridge Road over the swamp would be impractical. Even placing a small median down the middle to keep opposing drivers on their own side of the road would present problems.

Still, local residents are concerned the coming tourist season will mean even more traffic on the only access road to the Sandbridge community.

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