Va. transportation approves $13 billion plan

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved a final six-year, $13.1 billion transportation blueprint for Virginia.

The CTB allocates funding for essential highway, bridge, rail and other transportation projects, and earlier this year, it staked out the Six-Year Improvement Program. The plan earmarks $9.9 billion for statewide highway construction and $3.2 billion for rail and public transportation.

The CTB met Wednesday in Richmond and heard from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. But before Wednesday’s vote, the plan went on a round of public meetings across the state.

“The program reflects input from the community, including a regional public meeting held over the spring and written comments received in the last few months,” McAuliffe said in a news release. “The public played an important role in helping the CTB to shape the transportation program, making the best use of limited resources on projects that will ease congestion and move traffic more efficiently.”

The program will start July 1 and be implemented over the next six years. It will also be updated annually to reflect the latest revenue projections and other priorities.

Project highlights in the Hampton Roads region include the following:

  • I-64 widening on the Peninsula – The program fully funds the $144 million project to widen nearly 5.5 miles of I-64 from east of Yorktown Road (Exit 247) to west of Jefferson Avenue (Exit 255). Improvements include adding a lane and shoulder, widening this section of I-64 from four to six lanes in each direction. This section is currently the most congested section of the I-64 Peninsula corridor. The widening is expected to occur in the median of the existing interstate, limiting the amount of right of way required to build the project and avoid impacts to existing interchanges. Construction is expected to begin in summer of 2015.
  • Route 58 Interchange improvements – The program also fully funds $31.5 million to rebuild the Route 58 Interchange in Southampton County. This project will relocate Route 742 with a bridge over the Route 58 Bypass. Loops, a ramp and a spur will be added to create an interchange. There is also a right turn lane to be added to accommodate the businesses along Route 58 Bypass east. Right of way acquisition is under way for this project.
  • Military Highway in Norfolk – The project is fully funded at nearly $113 million. It will improve the southern section of Military Highway from Lowery Road to Broad Creek, from Broad Creek to the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and the northern section of Military Highway near I-64 and Robin Hood Road. The three sections are now planned to be bundled into one Design Build project. It will feature a continuous flow intersection, which moves left turning vehicles, conflicting with the opposing through movement, away from the main intersection. This will improve safety and move traffic more efficiently at the main intersection.
  • Turnpike Road in Portsmouth – The program completes $22.5 million in construction funding for this project. It will rebuild one mile of Turnpike Road (Route 337) from east of Frederick Boulevard to Constitution Avenue.
  • Transit improvements – The program advances funding for development of the Tide extension to Virginia Beach, capital improvements to support two additional trains to Norfolk and Virginia Port Authority rail projects
  • The program also allocates funding to rehabilitate 150 lanes miles of primary routes and 240 lane miles of interstate roads in the Hampton Roads region, and addresses 29 structurally deficient bridges.
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