VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – If you drive Laskin Road in Virginia Beach, then you know all about what’s been going on there for years.
VDOT’s Laskin Road Bridge Replacement and Widening Project began in fall 2019.
The $150 million project that includes $83 million in construction costs was to be complete in spring 2023, but got pushed back to spring 2024 due to unexpected, complicated utility work as deep as 13 feet underground.
The cost breakdown is:
- Construction: $83.2 million
- Right-of-way acquisition: $40.1 million
- Engineering and Inspection: $18.7 million
- Contingency: $8 million
The contractor on the job is Allan Myers.
Some other Allan Myers projects in the Hampton Roads District include:
- The I-64 Express Lanes Norfolk Segment, as well as
- Paving projects in the Williamsburg Residency, Surry County, Greensville County, Southside Interstate, and I-464.
10 On Your Side set out to investigate the frustration those who travel Laskin Road have about this project. We also pressed VDOT to find out the possibility of future delays.
Jordan-Ashley Walker is a well versed VDOT Senior Communications Specialist. “I will say the project is experiencing some delays from that spring of 2024 date, so what VDOT is doing is working with the contractor to understand the extent of those delays relative to the utility work and determine whether that will delay the spring of 2024 completion date.”
That will be news to many that more delays are not out of the question, even longer than Spring of 2024.
“That is what we are evaluating right now,” Walker added.
The fact is the Laskin Road Project is far from finished.
Critics of the project say when you look at the project at ground level it doesn’t seem like any part of it is completely finished, including the new roads still under construction after more than four years.
The project includes improvements in the Hilltop area of the city, starting at Republic Road, through the First Colonial Road intersection. It also includes a bridge replacement west of Red Robin Road.
Dr. Sarah Groy has a front row seat for the construction, “Typically, when new patients are calling, we tell them they are going to be stuck in the mess a little bit.”
The Laskin Road Project is happening right outside her new office.
“I know from the patients, they are frustrated not being able to get in and out of the parking lot. There are barrels up, and you aren’t supposed to drive between them to get in and out of parking lots, but of course people do. Right now you have to make long and winding U-turns to get around…unless you drive through the barrels.”
Dr. Groy opened Dr. Sarah Orthodontics and Aesthetics this past spring, about the same time the Laskin Road Project, which began in 2019, was supposed to be complete.
She has all the latest technology, but is still trying to build her patient business, which is challenged due to the road project. She doesn’t think it’s costing her business, but she doesn’t know for sure, and it is at least making access to her business more challenging.
This is a VDOT image of the 8-lane divided highway on Laskin Road which includes two 12 foot through lanes and one 14-foot-wide lane to accommodate bikes in each direction.
VDOT’s Walker told WAVY, “Utility work right now is 90% complete. We will be bringing more workers above ground once the utility work is 100% complete.”
VDOT has safety concerns for their workers and reported in 2022 the project completion extension for Spring 2024.
Dr. Groy is skeptical of that date, “It’s frustrating, I’m hopeful spring of 2024, but by the looks of it seems like a lofty goal.”
10 On Your Side pressed VDOT about whether Groy is right that the 2024 completion date could be extended.
Walker said, “Spring of 2024, that completion date has not changed; but I will say the project is experiencing some delays from that spring of 2024 date.”
That’s big news.
More delays could be on the horizon due in part to those nagging unexpected utility work issues which VDOT is trying to further understand.
Walker, pressed for more information on the possible extension, reiterated, “Spring of 2024 is the contract competition date.”
Walked added VDOT is currently evaluating if it could go past that date.
In a follow-up email to WAVY, Walker wrote:
“At this time, utility issues remain the primary source of potential future changes in the contract completion date. If VDOT determines a change in the contract completion date is warranted, the department will provide an update to inform stakeholders.”
More possible delays is not what Virginia Beach City Councilman Worth Remick wanted to hear.
“That is not good news at all. It should be completed by now,” said Remick.
The Councilman is getting an ear full from residents, “All the time. Residents we continue to hear more and more complaints about when Laskin Road is going to be complete?”
Remick said the biggest complaints are, “It does not have any portion that looks to be completed after four years, no completion any part of it, remains all under construction, there does not seem to be any finality anytime soon.”
WAVY asked Walker about VDOT’s response to these concerns. “We do recognize that, and we are working with the contractor to make sure this project is delivered in an efficient and timely manner and a safe manner.”
If there is another change in completion VDOT says it will cost more.
“The change in schedule will cause an increase to the original contract award amount, but it is unknown at this time the exact amount. Any estimates at this time would be premature.
Walker explained delays are given, when the contractor has no control over what is causing the delay like utility pipe issues 13 feet down.
“So, because of that, because it is beyond the contractor’s control that is why we extended it to spring of 2024, so just like we had those discussions going on then, those discussions are ongoing now.”
WAVY will continue to follow the progress of the Laskin Road Project. Look for updates at this link.