Councilwoman pushes plans to improve Sandbridge Road safety

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Barbara Henley says she wants to make improvements to Sandbridge Road, and she’s ready to start the process in the upcoming fiscal year.

The windy, narrow road leading to Sandbridge Beach has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. Four people were killed in a car crash on Sandbridge Road in mid-April. Three of the victims were children. Virginia Beach Police have said speed and alcohol are considered to be factors in the crash. Just last week, a tractor trailer jack-knifed on the road, blocking it off.

“I think we’ve seen five accidents,” said John Stein, who has stayed in a Sandbridge winter rental over the last five months. “We were fourth behind on that awful one a couple weeks ago.”

Henley said there have been plans to improve Sandbridge Road for several years.

“What we’re looking to change are some of the things that people have brought to us during this public hearing process,” said Henley. “And this is one of those changes.”

Henley said residents have showed up to public hearings, and other community meetings, and opinions have been similar. Residents want Nimmo Parkway to extend to Sandbridge Road.

Sandbridge Road is currently the one way in and out of the community.

Henley wants to add Sandbridge Road to the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). However, the councilwoman says her proposal only includes the eastern most portion of Sandbridge Road, which is the mile closest to the beach.

Henley said the goal is to “…try to begin doing the preliminary engineering and the permitting…” for that portion of the road. The engineering and permitting would be as the city makes plans to eventually connect Nimmo Parkway to Sandbridge Road, which is part of the master transportation plan, according to Phil Pullen, the City’s transportation division manager.

The sooner the City starts working on permitting and engineering, the sooner improvements can happen to Sandbridge Road. Some residents have argued the City should go ahead and add the second mile closest to the beach to the plan, too. However, Henley says it’s best to look at this project in phases.

Estimated costs are around $600,000 for the design and permitting of the mile long stretch of Sandbridge Road, Henley said.

The councilwoman says she will make the request to add Sandbridge Road to the CIP on Tuesday at the Virginia Beach City Council workshop. City council will vote on May 13.

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