SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $409.6 million contract Tuesday to widen Interstate 64 and build a new High Rise Bridge.
The project will widen I-64 from four to six lanes and add one High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane in each direction. The new High Rise Bridge will be built adjacent to the existing one to carry the three lanes of I-64 west traffic over the Elizabeth River.
The existing High Rise Bridge will continue to operate during the construction. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing High Rise Bridge will carry three lanes of I-64 east traffic.
The project will also include replacement of the overpass bridge at Great Bridge Boulevard and realignment of the associated roadway. The existing bridges carrying I-64 over Military Highway, Yadkin Road and Shell Road will be widened.
“In Hampton Roads our bottlenecks is around bridges and tunnels,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne.
Changes will begin half a mile east of the Interstate 264 interchange at Bowers Hill to one mile east of the Interstate 464 interchange. The new bridge will provide 100-foot vertical clearance over the river.
This project is expected to be completed in summer 2021.
“I think the citizens can see a whole lot of things are happening down there,” Layne added. “Those bottlenecks that we have been talking about there is actually things that are being done to make them better now.”
The contract was awarded to Granite/Parsons/Corman, Joint Venture of Tarrytown, NY. It is the largest design-build contract in Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) history. Funding for the project comes from the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and the state’s SMART SCALE program.
The project is part of the VDOT I-64 Southside Widening Project that began with an environmental study of the area in March 2013. A public hearing on the project was held in October of last year. The request for design-build contractor proposals for the project was entered in the following December.
“I think it will be good when they get it expanded,” said Chesapeake’s George Nelsen. “While they are expanding it will be a headache, but it is a headache now so either way it is a headache.”
This phase of the project is designed to accommodate a future Phase 2, which will expand the corridor to a total of eight lanes and replace the existing High Rise Bridge. The chosen contractor will receive a notice to proceed in November.
More information on the project is available on VDOT’s website.