Federal Highway Administration clears way for expansion of I-64, the HRBT

(Photo: VDOT)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — A $4.1 billion plan to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and widen Interstate 64 between Hampton and Norfolk is moving forward.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a record of decision for the Hampton Roads Crossing Study on Monday. The signed document ends the process of a nearly two-year environmental study and allows VDOT to continue with more detailed design of the project.

In the record of decision, the FHWA selected Alternative A as the preferred alternative, which would expand I-64 and the HRBT to six lanes from I-664 in Hampton to I-564 in Norfolk. The expansion includes a new bridge-tunnel at the existing HRBT.

“It means that traffic relief at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is one step closer to being resolved,” said State Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne. “We’ve been talking about it for many years. It’s going to happen.”

The record of decision presents the basis for the study decision and summarizes the measures to be included in the project. Many details, including the final lane configuration and construction method of the new tunnel, will be determined as project design advances.

“It will be much improved, but to think that it will remove all the congestion that would simply not be the case,” said Layne. “We anticipate growth in the area.”

Layne says the improvements will not force anyone from their homes or businesses, nor will it affect nearby Hampton University.

“It’s all to be done in the current right-of-way. There will be some short-term discomfort to several people, I’m assured. I’m sure there will be some to the traveling public as we connect things in, but it’s no long-term disruption.”

Layne says “a majority” of the funding will come from Hampton Roads taxpayers, as part of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, with $200 to $400 million from the state. There will also be tolls added to some of the HOV lanes.

“Some [money] will come from tolling, and by the way, there will always be a free alternative… You’ll have a choice to pay if you chose to.”

VDOT says they are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to secure environmental permits.

Layne says they hope to select a builder by the end of 2018, break ground in early 2019 and complete the project in 2024.

Find future updates on the I-64 HRBT expansion online.

This is a developing story. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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