HAMPTON ROADS, Va.(WAVY) — The Hampton Roads Crossing project has taken a step forward as a recommendation has been sent to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
On Thursday, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) voted unanimously to recommended Alternative A to the board.
The $3.3 billion alternative calls to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel from four to six lanes. An HOV toll lane will likely be included in the initiative.
“Today was a very big moment for the Hampton Roads region,” said Bob Crum, TPO Executive Director.
Alternative A was the cheapest among four total options. Choosing it, frees up funds for additional roadway projects across Hampton Roads, Crum said. There are now funds available to improve the Bowers Hill and Fort Eustis interchanges, among other busy spots.
“We really think that we’re starting to see a group of projects that start to address the real congestion hot points in our region,” Crum said.
Kevin Page, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, said that Thursday’s vote was 20 years in the making.
He told 10 On Your Side that the funding is there; taxpayers needn’t worry about the upcoming projects causing a hit to their wallets.
Commuters told 10 On Your Side that they’re pleased with the plans.
“Hopefully it’ll relieve us of some of the stress of waiting in traffic,” said Cormishea Haley. “I like to get home a little bit sooner so I can get the home work and dinner out of the way…that would help me out a lot!”
“As long as it’s expanding, I’m happy,” said Steven Hoffius.
Page told 10 On Your Side that actual construction on the HRBT won’t begin for another 18 months, and shouldn’t cause a traffic nightmare.
“What’s good about the HRBT project is that there will be an additional tunnel that will actually be laid in place alongside the existing tunnels that we have today, so therefore, it’s gonna be a lot easier for traffic management purposes,” he said.
Commuters told 10 On Your Side that the construction will be worth the outcome.
“Once it’s done, you won’t remember it, you won’t care,” Hoffius said.
TPO also voted to fund a study on Alternative D, which would include a new tube — along with road improvements to I-564 and I-64 in Norfolk — a new tunnel across the Elizabeth River and a new four-lane highway just east of Craney Island in Portsmouth.
The TPO’s unanimous vote to move forward with Alternative A will go before the transportation board for approval in December. If approved, the project is set to be completed in 2024.
Crum said that the TPO board is made up of public officials from the seven cities and beyond.
“A unanimous vote, we think, is quite impressive.”
This is a developing story. Stay with WAVY News 10 for updates.