Final Environmental Impact Statement Approved by Federal Government
Governor’s 2013 Transportation Bill Provides Funding to Begin the Widening with Section of I-64 in Newport News
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today a significant development to ease congestion and increase safety on I-64 in the Hampton Roads and Richmond regions. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has signed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which supports the future widening of 75 miles of I-64 from I-95 in Richmond to I-664 in Hampton. As a result of new transportation funding passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, about $100 million is currently now available to widen a section of I-64 in Newport News.
“The signing of the FEIS is a critical step toward advancing improvements to highly traveled and congested areas of I-64 for commuters and travelers alike,” said Governor McDonnell. “The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) worked diligently with the public, localities and the FHWA to get environmental work to a pivotal stage. Most importantly, because of the historic transportation funding package passed this year with bipartisan support, we now have the funding available to move past studies and into actual construction. It has been a long time since Virginia had the resources necessary to begin projects of this size and scope. We are now on the way to beginning the process of widening I-64 between Richmond and Newport News, saving drivers time and money on one of the most highly-traveled roads in Virginia.”
The FEIS identifies an alternative that allows adding lanes to a 75 mile stretch of I-64 between Hampton and Richmond. The decision on whether to widen inside the median or outside the existing roadway would be made on a section-by-section basis and closely coordinated with localities. Sections of roadway will be improved as funding is made available.
Currently, $100 million is programmed to widen five miles of I-64 from Jefferson Avenue to Fort Eustis Boulevard in Newport News. This section would be widened by one lane and a shoulder in each direction, increasing capacity for nearly 100,000 vehicles that drive this section of roadway every day.
Next steps require the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization to include the funding for this segment in their Transportation Improvement and Long Range plans. The FHWA will then issue a Record of Decision (ROD) on the segment following the update of the planning documents, which is expected by early next year. The ROD provides approval for the funded segment. VDOT is aggressively pursuing a design build advertisement by mid-2014.
“By completing the FEIS, the Commonwealth is making incredible strides to meet serious transportation needs along heavily congested and traveled areas of I-64,” said Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton. “We’re getting off to a good start by directing some of the new transportation funds to get the first segment widened.”
VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley added, “The federal approval follows several months of public review and input in addition to support by localities. Moving forward, VDOT will continue to work closely with the public and localities on I-64 improvements.”
For more background information on the study, go to the following link: http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/hamptonroads/i-64_peninsula_study.asp.