SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Thursday night, VDOT wrapped up it’s last Route 460 town hall meetings. They drivers the opportunity to tell them what should done with the highway.
“I do not agree with this,” said one driver. “I disagree with pretty much everything they have here.”
“I’m tired of hearing ‘460 doesn’t need to be approved,’ it does,” added another driver.
“The money should be spent on tunnels in Norfolk and not 460,” someone else said.
All five proposals on what could be done with 460 were presented at the public hearing. They include creating by-pass routes, either north or south of 460, using the existing road to create an expressway, or just making improvements to the road that’s there now.
“Another one of our concerns is that we have an increasing number of trucks on this road,” Rinehart said. “Just the sheer number of trucks slows down traffic.”
The 460 project has been in the works for years. Governor Terry McAuliffe stopped work on the project after the US Army Corps of Engineers said a permit to build might not be granted because the road would go through wetlands.
The state has already spent $300 million on the project, and construction still hasn’t begun. VDOT officials point to safety as the number one reason the road needs to be improved, but some tax payers don’t think improvements are worth the billion dollar price tag.
“I recognize some of the safety concerns that exist, but when it comes to a matter of traffic congestion in this area, I think Route 460 pales in comparison to the other problems we face,” one driver told Rinehart.
“As far as I’m concerned, maybe a divider down the middle, but leave the road alone,” another driver said. “I think it’s perfect.”
VDOT said right now all five proposed plans are being looked at for what impacts each would have on people and the environment. They have to study the 55-mile stretch from Suffolk to Petersburg.
“I think, if you took a vote of the people who were going to be affected by this, that live in these areas, it would be a strong no,” one driver said.
But not everyone would vote no, especially when it comes to safety.
“People out here are dying,” a woman said to the crowd. “Dying, not sitting in traffic burning up some gas. They are dying.”
VDOT officials said the environmental studies should be done soon. Then there will be public hearings in the fall, and one of the plans should be picked by early 2015.