NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A project to widen 21 miles of Interstate 64 on the Peninsula and ease problems of congestion is one-third completed.
State and local officials marked the end of the project’s first phase Friday, and cut the ribbon near the new travel lanes.
Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said in October that the project is ahead of schedule because of work the Virginia Department of Transportation did before crews broke ground.
WATCH: Officials hold a ribbon-cutting to mark the end of first phase in a project to widen Interstate 64 on the Peninsula. App users can watch the full event here.
The first stretch of the widening goes from the Jefferson Avenue airport exit to Yorktown Road. The work took 22 months and $122 million — including repair and widening of four bridges, the lengthening of on-and-off ramps at Ft. Eustis Boulevard, and landscaping along the median.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Friday that this work had to be done.
“One of my key, core promises was finally fixing 64 because it was a parking lot, gridlock,” McAuliffe said. “You couldn’t bring businesses here, families were angry, couldn’t see their kids play a ball game. And to cut this ribbon on time and on budget is extraordinary.”
With completion of this phase, one travel lane and one shoulder lane have now been added in each direction along the 5.6 mile corridor.
The expansion project will widen the interstate through Newport News, James City County and York County. Work on widening the second segment to Route 199 has already started.
“(Drivers) can expect for more construction, but hopefully here in three or four years, that they’re going to see a much more expanded ride, and if you’ve been on the new lanes, you can see they’re much smoother,” said Secretary Layne.
VIDEO: A closer look the I-64 widening project, courtesy of VDOT. (App users can watch here).