DOT awards Norfolk $14.4M to improve roadwork in St. Paul’s Area


St. Paul’s Area redevelopment project (Photo courtesy: WFA // City of Norfolk)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Norfolk was awarded $14.4 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the upgrade and reconstruction of city streets in the St. Paul’s Area — home to the region’s highest concentration of public housing units.

The funds are awarded as part of the Better Utilizing Infrastructure to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program. As part of the St. Paul’s Transformation, the award will be matched with $6.2 million from the city to bring this part of the road improvement project to $20.6 million.

Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander expressed his gratitude for the award and said that to date, total funds for this initiative are over $50 million.

“This significant award was the result of a tireless and coordinated effort. We appreciate the incredible work and commitment of our residents, stakeholders, federal partners including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Congressional delegation including Senators Warner and Kaine, Congressman Scott, Congresswoman Luria, and City of Norfolk staff,” said Alexander.

City officials say the improvement project includes 1.33 miles of city streets that will be transformed into a connected network with integrated streets, broadband facilities, resilience, and stormwater infrastructure components.

Streets and intersections impacted that connect the main corridors include Church Street, Freemason Street, Tidewater Drive, Chapel Street, Reilly Street, Mariner Drive, Holt Street, and Resilience Drive.

“It will fund new gridded, elevated roadways that will mitigate flooding. This transformed and resilient infrastructure will feature pedestrian-friendly streets and corridors, enhanced access to transit, and improved connections to broadband. The resilient, mix-use community that will rise from this new foundation will be home to more than 700 units of new replacement, affordable, and market-rate housing,” said Alexander.

New improvements include:

  • Sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrian safety
  • Traffic calming – facilitating Norfolk’s commitment to its “Vision Zero” initiative to eliminate transportation threats and harms to all pedestrians
  • Dedicated bicycle facilities including new shared-use paths
  • Integrated broadband conduit underground
  • Elevating roadways out of the floodplain in highly flood-prone areas
  • Improving safety and reducing total crashes by an estimated 40%, through the complete street and intersection improvements including:
    • Installation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) facilities, improved signalization controls, signing and striping improvements, speed limit reductions, wider sidewalks, curb bump-outs, and improved lighting.
St. Paul’s Area Resident Input Shapes Transformation
(Photo courtesy: City of Norfolk)

The project will also provide roadway infrastructure allowing the implementation of the $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant. The Choice Neighborhood is designed to transform the Tidewater Gardens community and help with the 65% of residents who currently do not have vehicle access.

Choice NeighborhoodChurch Street at Transit Way
(Photo courtesy: WFA // City of Norfolk)

The upgraded street network will link the redeveloped, mixed-use Choice Neighborhood community to downtown Norfolk including direct connection to the Downtown Norfolk Transit Center, Harbor Park Stadium, two elementary schools, an educational academy, the Waterside District, the downtown Municipal Center, the Norfolk light rail route, and a variety of job, educational, civic, and other community anchors.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine personally sent letters to Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in support of the City of Norfolk’s application for this program.

“We’re proud to announce that these federal dollars will help fund crucial upgrades in St. Paul’s area, improving city mobility and quality of life for the thousands of Virginians that commute through these streets every day,” said the Senators.

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