County will pay to bury Longhill Road power lines
County to fund buried power lines at Longhill Road

Motorists won't see power lines hanging over a stretch of Longhill Road once a projected $19.8 million project is completed in 2018.

The Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday evening to spend $2.4 million to bury power lines on Longhill Road as part of the upcoming widening project.

"Underground utilities is an important part of community character," said county planning director Paul Holt. "Underground utilities are less susceptible to damage during storm events and vehicle accidents."

The Longhill Road project mostly will be funded by state SmartScale funds. That money, however, cannot be used to bury power lines, according to county officials.

Holt said the county set funds aside in the capital improvement plan specifically to provide local funding for needed transportation improvement costs not covered by VDOT.

"These are funds that we already have available," said supervisor Michael Hipple (Powhatan). "This is the right way to protect the power lines so we don't have trees falling all over them."

The Longhill Road project, approved by the board Feb. 14, will include a roundabout, a 10-foot-wide shared-used path, crosswalks, a raised median and pedestrian push buttons at traffic lights. The outside lane on each side will also be widened to accommodate bicyclists.

The expansion will stretch from east of Williamsburg West Drive to west of the Olde Towne Road-Devon Road intersection.

Close to 17,000 vehicles travel Longhill Road daily. The project is expected to begin in spring 2018, according to VDOT.

"Staff has a working relationship with VDOT," Holt said. "Knock on wood, we are very fortunate to see a lot of VDOT projects come our way."

James City County also paid to bury power lines when it rebuilt Ironbound Road, according to the county.

"We're pulling in a pretty good amount of state funding to allow us to have safe roads," said county administrator Bryan Hill.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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