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The Hampton Roads Harbor Crossing Study
Hampton Roads is One Step Closer to Much Needed Traffic Relief
Across the Harbor… and the Region

The Commonwealth Transportation Board Votes to Approve Alternative A

On December 7, 2016, The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), a body that consists of community leaders appointed by the Governor, voted to approve Alternative A as the preferred alternative; the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT).  After the vote, Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, congratulated these Hampton Roads leaders for coming together to select the alternative that is the quickest path to building a much needed project.

Mayors & Chairs Choose Hampton Roads Harbor Crossing Study
 Alternative A (With Additional Regional Projects)

Norfolk Mayor Kenneth C. Alexander joined with 16 other Hampton Roads mayors and chairs in leading the way toward addressing our regional transportation needs.  These local leaders comprise the membership of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO).  On October 20, 2016, the HRTPO unanimously voted to approve a proposal to endorse Alternative A.  Additionally, their proposal included support for other projects to improve our regional transportation connectivity. The proposal included a funding strategy, a study and a memorandum with the Commonwealth of Virginia.    

This vote demonstrated that the members of the HRPTO understand that expanding the HRBT is only the first step of a transportation plan that must meet the following regional goals: 

  • Improve connectivity between Norfolk and the Peninsula
  • Relieve traffic congestion
  • Increase travel reliability
  • Encourage economic development and access to jobs
  • Enhance access to the Port and military installations
  • Increase the number of emergency evacuation routes

Background


In July 2015, The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) began updates to previous studies that investigated the best way to improve traffic flow between the Southside and the Peninsula as well as relieve congestion at the HRBT.  However, when the previous study was completed in the 1990s, funding was not available, so the project was put on hold.  When project funding became available, as a result of a regional transportation funding bill passed by the General Assembly, VDOT reopened the issue.  This current study, known as a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS), provided a new opportunity for the public and other stakeholders to comment.  The DEIS included four alternative projects. The public comment period concluded on September 19, 2016.  At that time, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began a review of the DEIS.  The initial comments from the USACE indicate that the least environmentally damaging project is Alternative A.

What is Alternative A?

Alternative A calls for widening the HRBT.  This will be done by building a new three-lane tunnel from Hampton to Norfolk as well as expanding I-64 by one additional lane in each direction, largely within the existing right - of - way.  The two existing tunnels of the HRBT will be converted to westbound traffic lanes.   

The projects proposed for study by the region are:
   
  • A new connector from I-564 to the MMMBT I-664 (I-564/664 Connector) 
  • A new roadway along the east side of Craney Island, connecting the I-564/664 Connector to VA 164 (Craney Access Road)
  • Widen VA-164, from I-664 to the Craney Access Road
  • Widen I-664 (including the MMMBT), from Hampton to Bowers Hill

HR Project Proposal Projects


Other Projects the HRTPO Supports:

The HRTPO also voted to approve the following regional projects for funding and construction:

  • I-64 High Rise Bridge; Expansion Phase Two
  • Bowers Hill Interchange
  • US 460/58/13 Connector
  • I-64 Fort Eustis Blvd Interchange

What’s Next for the Hampton Roads Harbor Crossing Study?

The USACE, will begin their final review of the DEIS, examining environmental impacts and considering the recorded opinions of citizens and public officials.  Upon completion of their review, the USACE will determine which alternative can be permitted and therefore, built.  This will lead to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to be published in Spring 2017 and the final Record of Decision (ROD) to be announced in Summer 2017.

How will this project be funded?

Funding will be provided by the regional taxes collected and managed by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission.  This organization was created by the General Assembly in 2013 to manage the funds raised by a local sales and gas tax increase implemented for the express purpose of funding needed transportation projects in the region.

For More Information:

Contact: Thelma Drake, Assistant Director, Public Works Transportation;
Visit: www.hamptonroadscrossingstudy.org