Saturday, April 20, 2024

Late James City County businessman leaves legacy — in two ways — with College Creek bridge

Two eastbound and westbound bridges on Route 199 have a collective name: The Jack L. Massie Memorial Bridge. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Google Maps)
Two eastbound and westbound bridges on Route 199 have a collective name: The Jack L. Massie Memorial Bridge. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Google Maps)

Skirting the City of Williamsburg in one big arc, Route 199 cuts through some scenic parts of James City County.

One section — two twin bridges extending several hundred feet with low concrete railings — span over an idyllic, calm part of the city’s historic College Creek.

The eastbound and westbound bridges have a collective name: The Jack L. Massie Memorial Bridge.

So, who is Jack L. Massie?

A James City County resident, Massie died in 2005. During his life, he established a highway construction firm; started a dairy farm in Lightfoot called VaJack Farm; and helped build various roads on Route 199 and in the Prime Outlets Monticello Marketplace and more.

Massie’s company, Jack L. Massie Contractor, Inc, also helped build the Route 199 bridge over College Creek — the same one named after Massie, Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Brittany McBride Nichols said.

“Mr. Massie lived the American Dream,” an online obituary for Massie reads.

The section of Route 199 was named after Massie in 2006 through action by the General Assembly.

The bill to name the span was introduced by Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr, R- James City County, in January 2006.

The bill was approved by the governor April 4, 2006. The name went into effect July 1, 2006, costing VDOT $400 to put memorial signs in place in both directions. James City County was responsible for reimbursing VDOT for the cost of the signs.

Norment was not immediately available for comment on why he introduced the bill.

“[H]ard-working and committed to quality and excellence in road construction, Jack Massie never really retired and was still going to work early every day, always on the job, even after his sons took over the business,” a Senate joint resolution reads.

Massie and his company were responsible for $25 million of the $80 million in projects along the 8.5-mile stretch of Route 199.

The resolution states Massie was the sole recipient of the 2000 Virginia Department of Transportation Quality Award, which recognized the quality of construction on Route 199 and a Monticello Avenue extension project.

“The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA) and VDOT Construction Quality Award recognized outstanding design and construction management work on transportation projects in Virginia,” McBride Nichols said.

A dairy farm and road projects are not the only activities Massie was involved in: He was also a founding board member of Old Colony Bank, Jamestown Academy and Williamsburg Landing, the resolution says.

He also served as director of the Virginia Road and Transportation Builders Association.

“Jack Massie will long be remembered as an honest and decent man who was dedicated and loving to his family and immensely dedicated to his community and the Commonwealth; he will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by his family, his numerous friends and admirers, and the residents of James City County,” the resolution finishes.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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