What’s the latest with HRBT expansion? Find out Wednesday and Thursday

NORFOLK, Va. - You have a chance to weigh in on the design of the proposed HRBT expansion during public meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first meeting is being held at Ocean View Elementary School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the second will be held Thursday evening at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School in Hampton.

VDOT officials want to hear feedback on the design, which does not include relocating any businesses or homes.

The 10-mile expansion will take place from Settlers Landing Road in Hampton to the I-564 interchange in Norfolk. A new tunnel and bridge will create four new lanes for the potential of eight lanes going across the water. Two lanes in each direction will be free. One will be a High Occupancy Toll lane (HOT lane), where drivers can choose to pay to ride in a faster lane. The lane will be a shoulder, but can be converted into a HOT lane if traffic conditions warrant that.

As part of the project, 32 bridges will be rebuilt or replaced. Construction is estimated to cost between $3.3 and $3.8 billion dollars, VDOT officials say. Funding is coming by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission.

"It's a major milestone. It's important for this project to get the design out to the public, make adjustments, approve design and start the construction phase of the project," said Jim Utterback, the project director of the HRBT Expansion Project.

A contractor for the project will be selected in early 2019 with construction expected to be completed in 2024 or 2025.