Millions of dollars will help transform Witchduck Road from a traffic choke-point surrounded by aging industrial buildings to an open thoroughfare serving an “eclectic, bohemian art district,” according to planning documents.
The dream starts with drainage and water pipes.
City Council approved using $5.9 million from other infrastructure projects and the Storm Water Utility Enterprise Fund at its Jan. 17 meeting for two projects in the North Witchduck Road corridor.
The city will spend an extra $1.3 million to extend water pipes along Witchduck Road between Greenwich Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard. There is already a $60 million project to widen that part of the road.
Some of the sewer lines under Witchduck Road date back to the late 1940s, said public utilities project manager Edwin Garcia-Cardona. The pipe is not in bad condition, but it’s easier to replace it while there is already work being done, he said.
Just east of Witchduck Road, the city will spend $4.6 million to build a sewer pump station and a pond for stormwater management. Both projects have to be complete to provide service to the future Price Street Apartments, a 264-unit affordable complex.
Work will start near Price Street as the apartment construction gets under way. Developers have said they plan to break ground late this year.
The developer of the project, The Franklin Johnston Group, will pay a $700,000 share of the project. The pump station will have the capacity to serve 69 acres and the pond will be able to handle 90 acres worth of stormwater, according to staff reports.
Until now, the area around Price Street has been mostly industrial, and the city didn’t need to provide sewer service to the area, according to a staff report.
The entire Pembroke Strategic Growth Area, which includes Town Center, is 1,288 acres. It’s one of eight areas of the city leaders plan to develop or redevelop.
The plan envisions filling the Pembroke SGA with ethnic restaurants, lounge bars and even a live jazz venue. The city has already broken ground on its new Housing Resource Center on North Witchduck Road.
The infrastructure improvements along Witchduck are among the first major investments in the eight SGAs, said Kathy Warren, strategic growth areas manager.
Significant projects have also been completed in the Resort Area and Burton Station, where the city is extending public water lines to residences.
Crews will begin the early work on widening Witchduck Road this month, said public works project manager Bill Haggerty. Most of the work will be done during off-hours, like weekends and nights, to avoid creating traffic problems.
The project will also create a cul-de-sac at Mac Street and Witchduck Road, next to the Sears Repair Center.
Interstate 264 improvements will likely begin sometime in the three years it takes to widen the road, Haggerty said. The interstate project is handled by the Virginia Department of Transportation and will reconfigure the Witchduck exit and entrance ramps.
Courtesy of virginiapilot.com