Sandbridge residents, businesses ready for $23M of improvements to only access road

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The $23-million phase is part of the Nimmo Parkway Extension, but the name is a little misleading.

This phase will focus on improvements to the existing Sandbridge Road. It will complete the first segment in what will eventually be a direct path from the isolated Sandbridge community to the Nimmo/General Booth business district.

The current Sandbridge Road is plagued with quick turns, frequent flooding and drainage ditches that sit inches from the road surface.

“You can just imagine how an overcorrection can lead to a real tragedy,” said permanent resident John Butterworth.

For renters and residents alike, there’s no choice. The only way in and out of Sandbridge is a winding, narrow road with little room for error.

“Yesterday, someone driving a fairly large maintenance truck managed to find themselves in a ditch,” Butterworth said in a Tuesday morning interview.

The new road will be 3 feet above the 100-year flood level. the project extends from the beginning of Sandbridge Road at Sandpiper Road and extends westward to Atwoodtown Road.

Davis Carbaugh and his customers at Sandbridge Market are getting tired of high waters.

“Any time there’s even just a mild rain, it ends up flooding. It’s sometimes hard to predict,” he said.

The Surf & Adventure Shop has a dock in the back for kayaking and canoe trips — a dock they can’t use when the water is too high. And sometimes “surf’s up” right in their parking lot.

“One summer, I literally was stand-up paddleboarding in the front of the surf shop, because it was so flooded,” said manager Dylan White.

Ann Bohannon likes the bike lane that will be part of the new Sandbridge road. During the tourist season, she gets all of her bike riding in during the weekdays.

“We try not to go out on Saturday,” she said with a laugh. “Because that’s when everybody is trying to get in.”

Construction on the Sandbridge Road phase is expected to begin in the fall of this year, with completion in the second half of 2024.

Future phases of the project will connect the improved and elevated Sandbridge Road with the eastern end of Nimmo Parkway.

The City of Virginia Beach had been hoping for a $10-million boost in funding for the Nimmo Parkway road project from the state budget, but the project’s funding was nixed by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The House of Delegates last November disagreed with Northam’s revision, voting to keep the Nimmo Parkway project in the budget, but Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, resulting in the money being officially cut.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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