Newport News to add traffic lights, crosswalks to increase safety around shipyard

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — In an effort to increase safety, multiple new traffic lights and crosswalks are coming to an area around Newport News Shipbuilding.

Tuesday evening, Newport News City Council voted to move ahead with the design and construction of the project that a Huntington Ingalls Industries spokesperson says will “improve safety and traffic flow” in the area.

This comes after neighbors adjacent to the shipyard have called the situation “serious.”

“It’s like literally watching the game of Frogger,” said Cody Madigan, who lives along 67th Street in Huntington Heights, adjacent to the shipyard. “I mean people are jumping in and out of the streets.”

Madigan and other neighbors tell 10 On Your Side that employees who park in a large lot on the east side of Warwick Boulevard must cross it, and Huntington Avenue, in order to get to the shipyard. The problem is traffic is constantly moving.

Currently more than 20,000 people work at the Newport News Shipbuilding and around 3:30 p.m. each weekday, Madigan said the mad dash home has become dangerous.

“Somebody is going to get hit and die,” Madigan said. “People are fighting to get to the front of the (parking exit) line, to get out. To get to the front of the street and move forward.”

“Residents are both frustrated and very concerned,” said Sara Snowden, who called 10 On Your Side in early June. She described cars having to slam on their breaks often as workers try to cross.

By the fall, things could change, according to a city spokeswoman.

Three mast arm traffic signals will be installed on Warwick Boulevard where it intersects with 71st Street, the Hidens Parking Exit and 67th Street, according to city documents. A map of the area also indicates improvements could be made to the other side of 67th Street as well, where it crosses with Huntington Avenue.

Each site will include pedestrian signal indications, push buttons, ADA compliant sidewalk ramps, pedestrian signage and pavement markings.

Huntington Ingalls, which owns the more-than-century-old shipyard, will cover the $850,000 cost.

However Madigan and other neighbors hope more is still to come.

“There’s an onslaught of thousands of workers coming from the shipyard that are migrating through the neighborhood,” Madigan said. “People throw trash on your yard. If my truck is on the street ,they’ll throw their trash in the truck bed. People’s cars get broke into.”

He wants to see a solution that requires people to take ways to work that don’t have negative impacts to his property.

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