City approves resolutions to overhaul roadways in Northeast Triangle

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Map of the re-zoned area on Capitol Landing Road. (Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)
Map of the re-zoned area on Capitol Landing Road. (Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)

Williamsburg city councilors voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve proposed resolutions affecting the Northeast Triangle. 

The new resolutions request revenue sharing funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation for two major construction projects on Capitol Landing Road.

One of the projects, the Capitol Landing Road at Bypass Road Intersection Project, aims to improve safety at the intersection. The second project, the Capitol Landing Road Corridor Project, is a city-sponsored redesign of the streetscape, a result of city council’s recent move to rezone the area into a culinary arts and hospitality district.

“We’re doing a lot in a short amount of time,” said Vice-Mayor Scott Foster, Jr.

Last month, city councilors voted unanimously to approve an ordinance which rezoned 76 acres along Capitol Landing Road. The city is attempting to create a culinary destination by encouraging new and existing businesses such as restaurants and micro-breweries to construct businesses in the area.

“I think it’s a positive thing in terms of the city’s long term dynamics,” Councilor Doug Pons said Thursday before voting to approve a proposed resolution for the project. 

The first proposed project would use the requested funds for a reconfiguration of the intersection of Capitol Landing Road and Bypass Road. The approved resolution stated that the city will remove the “sweeping” right turn lane that runs from Bypass Road to southbound Capitol Landing Road.

“We have had accident experience with the current geometry,” the resolution stated. 

A new traffic light will also be added to the intersection to improve safety. The resolution estimates that the intersection reconfiguration project will cost $1,908,500. The city must match half of funds received from VDOT, for a total of $954,250.

The second project aims to redesign Capitol Landing Road between Merrimac Trail and the Colonial Parkway to increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the area, as well as add aesthetic improvements and underground wiring in the corridor.

The redesign will eliminate a travel lane in each direction on Capitol Landing Road, shrinking the road to one lane in each direction, according to City Engineer Aaron Small.

“The street’s over-designed for the current traffic,” said City Manager Marvin Collins III.

The resolution estimates that the project will cost $5,774,300. The city will be required to pay $3,537,150, as the Commonwealth requires a local match of 75 percent for the underground wiring portion of the project.

At their October meeting, the council postponed a decision on allowing food trucks in the rezoned culinary arts area. After some discussion and debate led by Vice-Mayor Foster, the council voted unanimously to approve the proposed food truck ordinance Thursday. 

The council also agreed to amend an agreement with the Economic Development Authority to allow the Authority to use $50,000 in funds previously allocated to a demolition grant program for a small business improvement grant program.

Under the improvement program, area businesses will be able to apply for grants up to $10,000 for exterior and interior improvements through the Economic Development Authority.

“This is another piece in our tool kit for the Northeast Triangle efforts,” said Economic Development Director Michele Dewitt.

The grants will be 50 percent matching grants to encourage private investment by existing businesses.