WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Commuters got a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns at an open-house style meeting about the I-64 widening project Tuesday. Design-build contractor, Shirley Contracting Company, was on hand with updates and renderings of the project.
The project will add a third lane in each direction, bringing the four-lane highway to six lanes total.
"It's going to really help the area because we need the extra lane," said John Hummell, one of the commuters attending the meeting. Hummell and his wife, Nancy, live in the Queen's Lake neighborhood. They have driven down I-64 countless times and know the good and the bad.
"When the traffic is heavy, it’s slow anyway going to Newport News. I'd take Merrimac Trail or Highway 60 because it was so unreliable being able to go through on the old highway at a reasonable speed," he said.
The entire widening project has been years in the making and has three phases.
Phase 1 in Newport News spans approximately 5.6 miles, from west of Route 143, Jefferson Avenue (Exit 255), to just east of Route 238, Yorktown Road (Exit 247). This was completed.
Phase 2 widens I-64 from 1.05 miles west of Route 199 (Humelsine Parkway / Marquis Center Parkway) near exit 242 to where the Segment I project ends, 0.54 miles east of Route 238 (Yorktown Road) near exit 247. This is currently underway.
The third and final phase will widen I-64 from approximately 1.15 miles west of Route 199, Lightfoot (Exit 234), to 1.05 miles west of Route 199, Humelsine Parkway / Marquis Center Parkway (Exit 242).
The entire project will be complete in 2021.
"We've got to shift traffic in order to create room to build those new lanes, so that shifting of traffic is where people may feel the pain with reduced shoulder width," said Chuck Smith with Shirley Contracting Company. However, he stressed there will never only be one lane of traffic flowing in each direction.
Another change commuters are excited about is how ramps will be lengthened. The Camp Peary exit and the Lightfoot exit will have more room for motorists to merge, which also makes them safer.