VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Beachgoers will notice quite a lot of orange barrels along Sandbridge Road this summer.
An approximately 1.5 mile stretch of Sandbridge Road is being reworked to be elevated and safer.
“We’re straightening out the existing “S” curve in the road,” explained Ryan Johnson, project manager for the City of Virginia Beach.
Construction starts about a mile-and-a-half west of Sandpiper Road.
“Moving the road where we are, raising it up, and providing more shoulder space will hopefully allow for safer roadway experience and also to improve any issues that may be impeding traffic today, and make it so those delays are much less going into the future,” Johnson added.
He explained that there will not be additional vehicle lanes added, but it will be wider to allow for a bike lane.
Johnson said, “It’s still going to be two lanes, an undivided roadway, but we are adding width for on-road bike lanes and for shoulders that allow cars to pull off the road in the event of an emergency.”
There will also be a shared-use path for pedestrians or those wanting to leisurely ride their bikes. It will be separated from the road by a drainage area. However, Johnson said he is unaware of discussions of a parking lot being added so visitors could leave their vehicles and bike the rest of the route to the beach.
Rob Lindauer owns Surf and Adventure just next to the construction. He’s excited about the change.
“I think having a nice, safe road will really benefit the community,” Lindauer said, adding, “I’m excited about it, because we will have a road that will hopefully not flood with the south wind.”
He’s also stoked about adding options for bicyclists, for multiple reasons. He said he’d love to be able to bike to work when a trail is eventually added as part of the Nimmo Parkway Extension, and sooner, he’s excited for customers to be able to rent a bike from his shop and safely make their way to the beach or their rental home.
“People do come in and they want to just grab a bike and go,” Lindauer described, “And we’re like, ‘No, we’re going to, we’ll deliver the bike down to Little Island Park or we’ll deliver it to some point so you don’t have to ride Sandbridge Road.”
Johnson said the separate Nimmo Parkway Extension is in the beginning design phases. This current project, he says, should be complete in August 2025.
While there will be nearby construction and trucks slowing down traffic, Sandbridge Road won’t be torn up during the summer months. Traffic will continue on the current roadway until off-season.
“All of our summer work is outside of the existing roadway, so we don’t have any plans for lane closures or traffic control during summertime,” said Johnson. “That’s a little bit of the reason why we have a longer construction schedule is so that we can phase some of the improvements to be done as off-season work only.”
The project manager says the total project cost including design, acquisition, and construction is just over $25 million. The construction itself is about $18.5 million.