VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A controversial road realignment project is “a go” and construction will begin in July.
Thursday, members of the City of Virginia Beach’s public works staff met with residents who live near The Cavalier Hotel at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in order to brief them on how a longtime traffic patterns are about to change in the resort.
In March 2017, City Council approved a request brought by Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key|PHR, to remove the intersection where Atlantic Avenue meets Pacific Avenue in front of his recently restored Cavalier Hotel. Under the plan, Atlantic Avenue would instead end in a cul-de-sac in front of a new oceanfront Marriott Hotel he is also developing.
Beginning in July and lasting until November, 40th Street will close to all traffic in order to start preparing for the eventual addition of lanes and a traffic light to the intersection of Atlantic and Pacific avenues.
The complete project will likely last until the end of August 2020, per the timeline given to the city by the contractor.
Still, nearby residents and business owners expressed some concern on what the construction will mean for their routine and their bottom line.
“There is going to be an inconvenience to you guys,” said Phil Pullen, the city engineer. “But you have to get the eggs before you get the omelet.”
The project has faced criticism and several setbacks. After two failed attempts to secure state funding for the project, Thompson agreed to fund the majority of the project on his own. The city has shelled out $245,000 for the design.
Thompson wrote in an email to City Manager Dave Hansen last year, “If we do not make these improvements as recommenced by traffic consultants, we will create major traffic issues for any users of Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Avenue, and the neighborhoods far beyond the entrance to The Cavalier Hotel Complex.”
Six new parking spaces will be added to Atlantic Avenue North of 40th street as part of the project as part of a compromise to get the deal done according to Pullen.
“People walked out feeling satisfied,” said Council member Guy Tower, who represents the Beach District. “A lot of thought has gone into it…most of the things [citizens]wanted out of the project was achieved in at least some measure.”
“I think it is going to be a major improvement,” Tower said.