Port of Va. cancels plan to develop truck yard behind Portsmouth’s Westbury neighborhood

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a battle to keep truck traffic from going from bad to worse on the streets of Portsmouth. 

This follows efforts by the Port of Norfolk to put a truck chassis yard on a stretch of land under the MLK Freeway. CSX owns the land, and the city says doing this would dump more trucks onto already busy streets.

Portsmouth City Manager Lydia Pettis Patton was stunned on December 3 when she met with Dustin J. Rinehart, the director of state and local government relations for the Port of Virginia.

“I could not believe it,” she said. Rinehart (no relation to Port CEO and President John Reinhart) told her they wanted a chassis yard on property behind the Westbury neighborhood.

“600 to a 1,000 trucks and chassis going through six days a week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” she said.

Pettis Patton was adamant in writing Port CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart: 

“We will not support the proposal to create a chassis yard anywhere external of the Port’s property. I am saying the truckers and whatever they need to do in order to get their containers and their chassis is a port issue,” Pettis Patton reiterated.

She says she reminded the port representative in 2003 when trucks clogged Port Norfolk roads and it cost $170 million to build the MLK Freeway to get chassis, containers and trucks off city roads.

“They not only want to put truckers back on the roads, they want to put trucks and then to go get a chassis to go back on the street to go back to the port.”

Pettis found the Dec 3 discussion nonsensical. 

“This is about quality of life, the safety of our citizens, the interruption of trucks, and chassis where people are trying to get to our retail areas.”

“It’s quiet. It’s quiet,” says Del Holloman, who lives in the Westbury development. “The children are running around. They go to the park over there, I do not need them getting hit by cars. We don’t need the noise.”

10 On Your Side called the Port for comment and we were surprised to get this from CEO John Reinhart: 

“The Port of Virginia stopped pursuit of its development of a chassis lot on Dec. 3, following a meeting with City of Portsmouth officials that morning.”

Pettis Patton and Mayor John Rowe claim the first time they have known the Port is not pursuing the Chassis lot is when 10 On Your Side relayed it to them after getting the statement from Reinhart. 

They were delighted with the good news.

Pettis Patton agreed to meet with 10 On Your Side concerning her thoughts on this, and we asked her why she agreed to talk to us. 

“The citizens not only in Portsmouth, but in Hampton Roads, look to 10 On Your Side to help them understand the issues that come before them that may impact them in their day to day lives.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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