VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Big changes are coming to a once-rural road in Virginia Beach.
City leaders plan to redo the layout of Elbow Road to make it safer for the more than 9,000 people who travel that road every day.
“I moved here in 1995. Shortly after I moved here is when they first started talking about expanding Elbow Road over here,” explained Bellwood Neighborhood Civic League Vice President Joe Monaco.
More than 25 years later, the narrow and curvy Virginia Beach Road is getting a facelift.
Monaco said, “Everybody in the neighborhood knows that we have to do this. Everyone in the neighborhood sees all the traffic.”
After years of planning, city leaders secured the cash to fix Elbow Road, which connects Virginia Beach with Chesapeake. They plan to take out many of its sharp turns and deep ditches.
“It’s dangerous as heck, this road. As I said, you see accidents to cars, accidents to people, and accidents to pets,” said Monaco.
Virginia Beach Public Works Project Manager Annette Hare said the project is going to cost roughly $30 million. Crews plan to start construction within the next year and believe it will take two to three years to complete.
Hare explained, “The first phase will be just replacing two lanes with two lanes on a new alignment. We do anticipate widening it to a divided four-lane roadway.”
But some people aren't pleased that crews plan to remove an exit from their neighborhood, which is in Bellwood Estates.
Monaco said, “As bad as this intersection is, it's going to be worse. We don’t want them to shut that down.”
City leaders said with the new road, the current exit wouldn't be safe. They plan to add an emergency entrance from the back of the neighborhood for first responders.
“It seems like the big goal is to get the expansion and we would like a little more consideration for what's happening in the neighborhood,” Monaco said.
Public Works leaders said they expected to start this project earlier, however, the mass shooting in 2019 delayed the plans after a gunman killed three Public Works employees who worked on this project.