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Local residents encouraged to attend VDOT I-64 hearings

How many times have you gotten caught in a traffic back up on I 64 ? If you are a daily commuter from Williamsburg to Hampton or Newport News you probably can’t count that high.

imageTraffic on secondary roads around the Williamsburg VA area is typically not that bad. Where we do have an issue is Interstate 64 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer beach season . The road serves as the the main corridor for everyone traveling from Richmond, the DC area, PA, NY and NJ folks travelling to the beaches in VA Beach and the Outer Banks.

In addition to summertime back ups, you can normally expect to see backups around exit 250 at Ft Eustis, and near Jefferson Ave exit as the road narrows from four lanes to two.

VDOT’S plan to relieve congestion  along Interstate 64 between Hampton and Richmond – and possibly add tolls to the entire 75-mile corridor – is up for public review as part of a long term study that will guide the improvements if they ever find the money to do it. A preliminary cost estimate for the work ranges from $4.7 billion to $7.3 billion.

image

With no funding in the pipeline for the project VDOT stresses that ii is imperative that residents speak up now, while the project is still in its formative stages.

Location Public Hearings
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 5 – 8 p.m.
    Bruton High School
    185 E. Rochambeau Drive
    Williamsburg
  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 5 – 8 p.m.
    City Center Conference Room
    Fountain Plaza II
    700 Town Center Drive
    Newport News
  • Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 5 – 8 p.m.
    VDOT Central Office Auditorium
    1221E.Broad St.
    Richmond
VDOT is looking at varying options to widen I 64 including adding lanes and tolling the entire stretch, or adding lanes and tolling some of them for motorists willing to pay to avoid congestion.  Key decisions for the improvements are whether to add lanes on the outside of the existing road or in the median, much of which is wooded and valued for its scenery. In past hearings residents and organizations have said it’s very important to retain the wooded buffer where the interstate passes through the historic triangle at Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.

VDOT is looking at varying options to widen I 64 including adding lanes and tolling the entire stretch, or adding lanes and tolling some of them for motorists willing to pay to avoid congestion.  Key decisions for the improvements are whether to add lanes on the outside of the existing road or in the median, much of which is wooded and valued for its scenery. In past hearings residents and organizations have said it’s very important to retain the wooded buffer where the interstate passes through the historic triangle at Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold three open meetings next month: Dec. 11 in Williamsburg, Dec. 12 in Newport News and Dec. 13 in Richmond. You can also review  Interstate 64 Peninsula Study online here .

While tolling is discussed,  the state currently has no federal authority to toll the entire corridor. The option was studied in case it became available in the future.

The study considered a toll rate of 15 cents per mile – or $11.25 for the 75-mile trip – based on an average of other toll roads in the multistate region. It found that while some drivers would avoid the road because of the toll, new lanes would still be necessary to sufficiently relieve congestion.

This study was necessary  to get a go-ahead from federal officials on a final course of action. Once approval is secured, regional leaders from the region will have to weigh priorities for future projects between  the I-64 widening and two other unfunded, much needed improvements. The expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and another Hampton Roads harbor crossing.

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