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Secretary of Transportation Addresses HRBT Expansion; use of HU property

HAMPTON, Va. - Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne says crews have additional road work to do before knowing for sure if Hampton University`s land will become theirs.

'We`re committed to making sure the HRBT gets expanded,” Layne said. “We want to do the right thing and we`re not gonna impact Hampton University if at all possible.'

Officials will decide next month on one of four alternatives for traffic improvements.

Three options partially include turning the four lane HRBT into six lanes.

An issue in part is whether the project will infringe on the university’s land.

The university’s president Dr. William R. Harvey released a statement regarding the expansion.

“VDOT must proceed with the greatest caution and restraint lest it pave over and destroy irredeemable history.” Harvey said, explaining his reason for calling the press conference.

“Turning points in our nation’s history unfolded on the grounds of our campus, starting with Native Americans 12,000 years ago. As a custodian of that history, I have an obligation to protect it. I have little confidence that VDOT appreciates the damage it is about to do.”

Layne said they acknowledge the university’s history.

“We understand the history of the emancipation oak and while on the west side there doesn't appear be historical land there, if they think it is - we`ll try to avoid it at all cost, if possible,” Layne said.

The university will hold a press conference Friday, November 18 at noon to discuss the University’s commitment to not yield any of the campus property for the expansion project.