I wanted to take a moment to update New Kent residents on recent developments concerning issues of importance to our shared community. Over the past several months numerous citizens, New Kent County leaders, as well as first-responders have expressed to me grave concerns over the deteriorating conditions of Route 60 in New Kent County. As construction work begins on Interstate 64 from I-295 to Interstate 64 Exit 205, traffic is projected to increase significantly on State Route 60 as travelers attempt to avoid congestion and delays on I-64. This progress comes at a cost and will have an adverse impact on the currently treacherous conditions of State Route 60.
The need for maintenance and resurfacing of Rt. 60 has reached a critical point. Due to the many patches that have been applied over the years and uneven pavement sections, these safety issues often cause travelers swerve to miss bumps and suddenly slowdown in an effort to avoid damaging their vehicles. To that end, I introduced an amendment to the state budget to require the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to prioritize the resurfacing and maintenance of State Route 60 in New Kent County.
My amendment prompted fervent discussions at VDOT on how to address our concerns in a timely manner. I had a highly productive meeting with the VDOT Commissioner first thing Friday, February 2. He assured me that Calendar Year (CY) 2018 resurfacing and maintenance efforts on Rt. 60 will begin in April and be completed by November 2018. Our efforts have made Rt. 60 a priority.
The initial round of resurfacing and maintenance will begin with the paving of five sections totaling 21.08 lane miles. The Commissioner also outlined further Rt. 60 resurfacing and maintenance projects for both CY2019 and CY2020. I want to say a special thank you to County Administrator, Rodney Hathaway, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin, and Supervisor Ron Stiers for making the trip up to the General Assembly to testify in the Appropriations committee in support of prioritization of Rt. 60, and to Chairman Evelyn for his leadership on this matter.
On another important note to the County, in December, I testified in strong support of the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) application submitted by VCU Health System to establish an outpatient imaging center with CT services at a freestanding emergency department in New Kent County. On January 22, 2018, this project received a staff recommendation in support of the CT scanner application that paves a way for greater access to care in the County.
This project will be extremely beneficial for New Kent County, its residents and future patients. The VCU Health Bottoms Bridge Emergency Center will be a hospital based department of VCUHS and will serve as an extension of VCUHS’s existing emergency services. With this project, VCUHS is seeking to extend clinical services into New Kent to fulfill an unmet geographic need for the provision of emergency and imaging services for New Kent and surrounding communities.
House Bill 1402, introduced in this General Assembly session, could have required a second COPN application for the brick and mortar of the freestanding emergency department. I successfully amended the bill in committee to grandfather COPN projects currently in the application process to ensure our project does not get delayed. This project will significantly improve access to outpatient CT services, as well as bringing other high-quality services provided by VCU Health System to the area.
It remains an honor to serve as the Delegate for the 97th District and work to solve problems for New Kent County.