RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne says the state likely won’t get a permit to build a new toll road next to U.S Route 460.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a draft environmental impact statement Monday of a proposed toll road pushed aggressively by former Gov. Bob McDonnell and several alternatives.
As a whole, the project is supposed to improve transportation on the U.S. Route 460 corridor, which spans from Suffolk to Petersburg. Other goals of the project include: providing a faster hurricane evacuation route, helping truck traffic coming from the Port of Virginia and making military transportation easier.
According to VDOT, the statement released Monday evaluates potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the following five options for the project and a no-build option:
- Alternative 1: A four-lane divided road that runs south of the existing U.S. Route 460 and could be tolled.
- Alternative 2: A four-lane divided road that runs along the existing U.S. Route 460, with six bypasses around the existing towns. The bypasses could be tolled or not tolled.
- Alternative 3: A four-lane divided road that runs north of the existing U.S. Route 460 and could be tolled.
- Alternative 4: A four-lane road along the existing U.S. Route 460 with improvements to meet standards for medians, shoulders and intersections.
- Alternative 5: An eight-lane road along the existing corridor with an expressway in the center, bypasses at the towns, and local access roadway to the outside. The expressway could be tolled or not tolled.
The Army Corps of Engineers had not issued a permit for the 55-mile proposed tolled highway because of concerns over its environmental impact on hundreds of acres of wetland.
Layne said the draft environmental statement shows the state will likely only be permitted to make improvements along the existing 460 roadway.
Public hearings on the statement will be held in October, and a decision on the preferred alternative is anticipated by early 2015, VDOT said. Then work will begin on a final environmental statement.
Information for the public hearings is as follows:
- Monday October 27, 5-8 p.m., Windsor High School, Windsor
- Wednesday October 29, 5-8 p.m., The Wakefield Foundation, Wakefield
- Thursday October 30, 5-8 p.m., J.E.J. Moore Middle School, Disputanta
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