Commonwealth Transportation Board Approves Location for Hampton Roads Crossing Expansion
On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) unanimously approved a preferred alternative to ease congestion and improve travel on the I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Alternative A will widen about 12 miles of I-64 to a consistent six-lane facility from I-664 in Hampton to I-564 in Norfolk. The alternative includes a new parallel bridge tunnel. Alternative A is in the Hampton Roads Crossing Study Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).
“Today’s endorsement of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion clears the way for a leap forward in regional connectivity and congestion relief,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “After years of talk and analysis, we now have the funding and the decision to act. This is monumental for Hampton Roads and Virginia. Commuters, businesses, our port and the military will all reap the benefits of this long sought-after solution to one of the biggest bottlenecks in the Commonwealth.”
Public reviews of proposed alignments were held in July 2015, December 2015, and September 2016. Based on the Draft SEIS and public comments, Alternative A was advanced to the CTB for approval as the location for the project.
Alternative A, as identified in the Draft SEIS, received unanimous support from the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission on October 20, 2016. The federal Cooperating Agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also had no objections to the alternative.
Alternative A will increase capacity in the existing corridor, increase regional accessibility, improve emergency evacuation capability and military connectivity, reduce congestion and improve access from the Port of Virginia.
Alternative A also has the least number of wetland impacts of any of the build alternatives retained in the SEIS.
The adopted alternative is expected to cost an estimated $3.3 billion and the project is included in the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization Long Range Transportation Plan.
Over the coming months the CTB will be briefed on options for potential management of the new lanes, including the use of high occupancy vehicle lanes or high occupancy toll lanes. The CTB also authorized The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to continue working with other parties to advance separate studies to identify appropriate access points around Craney Island.
This action by the CTB also rescinds the prior location decision for a preferred alternative (I-64 Hampton Roads Third Crossing) that was made on July 20, 2000.
The CTB’s vote allows VDOT to proceed with documenting the preferred alternative and responding to public comments in a Final SEIS. The Final SEIS will include commitments to avoid any permanent property impacts at Hampton University. VDOT anticipates a Final SEIS being published in the summer of 2017. Following publication of the Final SEIS, VDOT can request a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Highway Administration. The ROD will allow VDOT to advance with more detailed designs. VDOT anticipates requesting and receiving a ROD in the summer of 2017 on Alternative A.
About the Study
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Federal Highway Administration and other stakeholders have initiated work on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to reevaluate the Hampton Roads Crossing Study.
The study was originally documented in a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, both issued in 2001.
The SEIS will re-examine the three alternatives that were retained for analysis in the original study, as well as an additional alternative identified during initial public outreach. Illustrations and descriptions of the alternatives are available here .
All alternatives will include a transit component. In some cases, this will include dedicated lanes and in other cases the SEIS will prescribe means by which transit could be incorporated into other lanes on each facility.
Each alternative also will be presented in sections in the SEIS to allow for new or hybrid alternatives to be identified through the study process.
In addition to examining the alternatives, the study also will include updated information on natural, historic and social resources and consider up-to-date engineering and scientific standards.
- August 2016 - Draft SEIS available for 45-day public comment period
- September 2016 – Location Public Hearings
- October 2016 – Brief Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) on the study
- December 2016 – Seek CTB decision
- Spring/Summer 2017 – Final SEIS available for public review
- Summer 2017 – Request first Record of Decision for the study