HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization has made their recommendation on which project they feel should be built to improve congestion on I-64 and the HRBT.
On Thursday, the group announced the recommendation of the plan known as 'Alternative A.' This option would turn I-64 into a six-lane highway from I-664 in Hampton to the I-564 Interchange in Norfolk. A parallel bridge tunnel would also be constructed west of the current HRBT. The entire plan is estimated to cost $3.3 billion and expected to be completed and fully operational in 2024.
"While six lanes through the HRBT won't meet all of our needs it'll improve movement. And combined with the other projects, we think we're starting to see a group of projects start to address the real congestion hot points in our region," said Bob Crum, the executive director of HRTPO.
The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission said since Alternative A costs the least, it opens new doors.
"It allows us the opportunity to continue to construct and deliver projects throughout the region," said Kevin Page, the executive director of HRTAC. Those projects include:
- I-64 Peninsula - Segments 1, 2, and 3 (Completed 2018-2022)
- I-64/I-264 Interchange - Phases I & II (Completed 2019-2021)
- I-64 Southside/High-Rise Bridge - Phase I (Completed 2020)
- US 460/58/13 Connector - PE (Completed 2019)
- I-64 Southside/High-Rise Bridge - Phase II (Completed 2031)
- Bowers Hill Interchange (Completed 2031)
- US 460/58/13 Connector (Completed 2035)
- I-64 Fort Eustis Blvd Interchange (Completed 2035)
The funding for Alternative A is already in place. In one year, a regional gas tax and sales and use tax have raised $1.5 billion. Taxes will stay the same.
This is not a final vote or project approval, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will vote on December 7 on which alternative will be built.
People living in Hampton Roads were asked to take a survey and include their comments on which alternative they prefer. According to VDOT there were 572 public comments recieved. From those comments, 60 percent support Alternative D, 20 percent prefer Alternative A, 11 percent support B and 9 percent support C.
The other options being considered are:
Alternative B includes all of alternative A, and improvements to the existing I-564 corridor extending I-64 across the Elizabeth River through a new bridge-tunnel. A new roadway would extend south from the new bridge-tunnel, along the east side of Craney Island and connect to the existing VA 164. VA 164 would be widened to I-664. Alternative B costs $6.6 billion, double the cost of alternative A.
Alternative C would include improvements along I-564, across the Elizabeth River, and south to VA 164 that are included in Alternative B. However, this alternative does not include improvements to I-64 or VA 164. Instead, this alternative would continue west from I-564 over water and tie into I-664. This alternative would widen I-664 from I-64 in Hampton to I-264 in Chesapeake. A parallel bridge-tunnel would be constructed west of the existing Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT); the tunnel width would match the expanded capacity on the approaches. Alternative C also converts the HOV lanes along I-564 in Norfolk to transit only. The I-564 Connector and the I-664 Connector would be constructed with one transit-only lane in each direction. These transit-only lanes continue in each direction north along I-664 to the terminus with I-64 in Hampton. This alternative costs $12.5 billion.
Alternative D would include improvements to I-64 between Hampton and Norfolk with a new parallel bridge-tunnel west of the existing HRBT. It also includes improvements along the existing I-564 corridor from I-64 west across the Elizabeth River via a new bridge-tunnel. A new roadway would extend south from the new bridge-tunnel, along the east side of CIDMMA, and connect to existing VA 164. VA 164 would be widened to I-664. I-664 would be widened from Hampton to Chesapeake with a new parallel bridge-tunnel west of the existing MMMBT. Alternative D costs $11.9 billion.
The planning organization voted to fund a study on Alternative D as part of their vision plan.