VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens of concerned citizens attended a meeting on Thursday to learn more about a construction project planned at the I-64/I-264 interchange.
VDOT officials hosted the forum at Arrowhead Elementary School, describing how the $158.7 million project will ease congestion.
Between now and October 2016, VDOT plans to add a second exit lane on westbound I-64, widen the ramp from westbound I-64 to eastbound I-264, construct a new two-lane road from I-64 to the Newtown Road interchange, and build a new two-lane flyover ramp from westbound I-64 to the existing eastbound I-264 road.
VDOT Engineer James Klotz told 10 On Your Side the plans provide “an opportunity… to divide traffic and make it flow.” He said the work will make a big difference for commuters over the long-term.
But several residents who live along the interchange expressed concerns about how the work will impact their properties and disrupt their lives.
Debby Forehand’s biggest concern surrounds her neighborhood’s drainage system, which she described as a “drainage ditch.” She spoke with officials one-on-one after the meeting, and felt more assured.
The majority of complaints surrounded anticipated noise. Come early next year, existing sound barriers will be removed for two years.
“Two years with no sound barrier?” one woman asked, shouting during the presentation.
“I understand their concern, I understand it is going to be a major inconvenience for them,” Klotz said. “But most of the construction is going to be during the day, it won’t be at night.”
The construction is planned for the “non-peak” hours, for the benefit of nearby residents and traffic, he said.
Longtime resident Allan Carpenter questioned whether the cost and construction will be worth the outcome.
“It’ll work, but I don’t know how well,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. There’s too little we know about the whole project yet.”
VDOT officials said they currently have a 90-day schedule planned. The next couple of months will involve prep work, while the heavy construction work will begin early next year. The project is expected to be completed by October 2019.