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About Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is developing the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia. 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the location for improvements associated with the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia in February 2015.  

The project would consist of a new four-lane divided highway between the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk to west of Windsor. 

From approximately one mile west of Zuni, to two miles west of Windsor, the existing Route 460 would be reconstructed and upgraded to a four-lane divided highway with a new bridge across the Blackwater River to eliminate long-standing flood problems. 

From approximately two miles west of Windsor to the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk, a new limited access four-lane divided highway would be constructed.

No improvements associated with the project are proposed in Prince George, Sussex and Surry counties.

Since the identification and approval of the location of the Project improvements, further refinements were applied in order to avoid and minimize impacts to the greatest extent practicable and a proposed project has been carried forward in a Joint Permit Application (JPA) submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).  

In November 2015, VDOT submitted the JPA for proposed improvements along the Route 460 corridor from approximately one mile west of Zuni to the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk.   Map of Route 460 Project Area in Southeast VA

As part of the review of the permit application, USACE held a public comment period from Nov. 30, 2015, to Jan. 20, 2016. The USACE solicited comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes and other interested parties, in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed improvements.  

In June 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the USACE approved the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for public review and availability. The Final SEIS is the next step in the environmental review process, following the September 2014 Draft SEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, and provides decision-makers with information about the Project to help them decide whether or not to advance it. Comments received during the public comment period on the Draft SEIS have been considered and addressed in the Final SEIS. The Final SEIS provides a detailed description of the development and identification of the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative, which was first presented during VDOT’s May 2015 public meetings.

As part of the preparation of the permit application and Final SEIS, a more detailed understanding of the specific impacts associated with the project has been developed. 

Through the use of avoidance and minimization measures, VDOT, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), USACE, DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency substantially reduced impacts to streams and wetlands throughout the length of the project, as outlined below:

• The analysis resulting from the 2014 Draft SEIS indicated that the Preferred Alternative could impact 52 acres of wetlands and 13,800 linear feet of streams.

• Additional field work during the summer of 2015 established a more accurate baseline of potential impacts of 49 wetland acres and 9,473 linear feet of streams.

• In the fall of 2015, VDOT adjusted and refined the preferred alternative, as the design for permitting advanced, to avoid, minimize and reduce both wetland and stream impacts.

• Through this concerted effort, the impacts were reduced to 39 wetland acres and 6,874 linear feet of streams.

In June 2016, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in collaboration with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) completed the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Route 460 Project in Southeast Virginia. Comments received during the public comment period for the Draft SEIS are addressed in the Final SEIS.  The Final SEIS was made available for a 30-day public review and comment period that concluded in July 2016.A final decision has not been made on construction of the project.

Concurrently with the development of the Final SEIS, a Joint Permit Application (JPA)  for the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative was prepared and submitted to the USACE, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (DEQVMRC) in November 2015.  Each agency issued an individual public notice and conducted separate comment periods to solicit input to inform their respective permitting decisions.  Following the close of the comment periods and consideration of all comments received, including those on the Final SEIS, USACE issued a permit in September 2016.  DEQ issued a permit in early October and VMRC approved the permit in November 2016.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted unanimously at their October 2016 meeting to submit the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia to be scored and ranked under Virginia's data-driven prioritization process, SMART SCALE. Following the outcome of the SMART SCALE scoring process, the solicitation of public input, and public hearings on the Draft Six Year Improvement Program (SYIP), a decision will be made regarding the Route 460 project. A Record of Decision from FHWA will also be required for the Project to advance to construction.

A final decision has not been made on construction of the project. If a favorable permit decision from USACE is received, the Project will also be scored under SMART SCALE: Funding the Right Transportation Projects in Virginia (formerly, Virginia House Bill 2). In addition, a Record of Decision on the Final SEIS must be received from FHWA. Once the necessary environmental decisions have been made and the Project is scored, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether or not to advance the Project.

The purpose of the improvements to the Route 460 corridor is to construct a facility that is consistent with the functional classification of the corridor, sufficiently addresses safety, mobility, and evacuation needs, and sufficiently accommodates freight traffic along the Route 460 corridor between Petersburg and Suffolk, Virginia.

The following needs have been identified for the project:

• Address roadway deficiencies: Route 460 was designed and constructed using geometric standards that are now outdated.
• Improve safety: Fatality rates for Route 460 are higher than other comparable rural roadways in Virginia.
• Accommodate increasing freight shipments: Truck percentages for Route 460 are higher than national averages for rural roads with similar functional classification, and are forecasted to grow due to expansions at the Port of Virginia.
• Reduce travel delay: Growing future traffic volumes will experience increased travel delays on Route 460 due to capacity limitations at traffic signals and the current design deficiencies.
• Provide adequate emergency evacuation capability: Route 460 is a designated hurricane evacuation route for Southside Hampton Roads communities, yet during recent events, the road was closed due to effects caused by these storms.
• Improve strategic military connectivity: Route 460 is a designated part of the Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) by the Department of Defense (DOD) and FHWA.
• Support local economic development plans: In addition to statewide and regional economic development needs, jurisdictions along the Route 460 study area have identified economic development priorities related to transportation improvements.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Sunset along the corridor.What are the benefits of the preferred alternative? 

Over its length the preferred alternative:

  • Improves safety by yielding the lowest crash rates
  • Maximizes evacuation capacity in this portion of the study corridor
  • Enhances safety and mobility by separating local and regional traffic, which allows for improved access to community facilities while accommodating truck traffic with a free-flow connection to Route 58
  • Addresses citizen concerns related to flooding and projected sea-level rise by providing infrastructure that incorporates federal initiatives addressing climate change and coastal resiliency
  • Provides the greatest travel time savings
  • Provides the most effective new route for freight movement in this portion of the study corridor
  • As indicated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), appears to be the Least Environmentally Damaging Practical Alternative (LEDPA), an important consideration in advancing any improvement

How was the preferred alternative identified?

The preferred alternative included for detailed study in the final SEIS is the result of extensive work to evaluate and develop options along the Route 460 corridor.

Approved by the CTB in February 2015, the preferred alternative is the result of a combination of alternatives that were included in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which was made available in September 2014 and presented at three location public hearings in October 2014.

Following the publication of the Draft SEIS, VDOT determined that none of the improvements evaluated over the entire 55-mile corridor would be viable options, based on public comments that were received, input from the resource and regulatory agencies regarding the estimated environmental impacts and the cost opinions that had been developed.   

As a result, VDOT carefully reconsidered the alternatives that were studied in the Draft SEIS - in whole, in parts, and in hybrid combination with one another – in order to identify a single alternative that would best meet the identified project purpose and need, while minimizing environmental impacts and providing the most cost effective project.

What reduction of impacts to streams and wetlands has been made through the use of avoidance and minimization measures?

  • The analysis resulting from the 2014 Draft SEIS indicated the preferred alternative could impact 52 acres of wetlands and 13,800 linear feet of streams
  • Additional field work during the summer of 2015 established a more accurate baseline of potential impacts of 49 wetland acres and 9,473 linear feet of streams
  • In the fall of 2015, VDOT adjusted and refined the preferred alternative, as the design for permitting advanced, to avoid, minimize and reduce both wetland and stream impacts
  • Through this concerted effort, the impacts were reduced to 39 wetland acres and 6,874 linear feet of streams.

How is the current project design refined from the previously presented preferred alternative?

  • Reduction of property impacts and impacts to other resources, including wetlands and streams, through roadway alignment adjustments and decreased footprint widths
  • Inclusion of a new intersection west of the town of Windsor and a new interchange east of  Windsor, connecting the proposed Route 460 to existing Route 460
  • Provision of an interchange configuration at the Route 460 / Route 58 eastern terminus that is  consistent with current operational analyses
  • Implementation of other minor measures to avoid or minimize impacts to resources, including wetlands and streams

What is the Project timeline?

In January 2015, the CTB was presented with the recommended preferred alternative.  

The CTB passed a resolution in February 2015, approving the location for the Route 460 corridor improvements, consistent with those presented at the January CTB meeting.  

Since then, the study team has continued to develop a more detailed understanding of the specific impacts of the proposed preferred alternative as a Joint Permit Application (JPA) and Final SEIS are prepared.  

VDOT submitted the JPA to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission  (VMRC) in November 2015.  It is anticipated that the Final SEIS will be prepared by summer 2016.   

Before any property can be acquired or construction can begin, the project must receive a permit from the USACE, DEQ, and VMRC and a Record of Decision from FHWA. 

The project will then be scored under a new law, known as House Bill 2.  Major projects that would improve statewide corridors, like Route 460, are required to be scored based on an objective data-driven process.  

Once the Route 460 project is scored, the CTB will decide whether or not to advance the project for further design and construction.

Which counties studied during the Draft SEIS process are no longer affected?

Properties west of the preferred alternative, located in Prince George, Sussex and Surry counties, will not be affected - even those previously considered during the location public hearings, which included five alternatives and a no-build option. 

Has the contract with U.S. 460 Mobility Partners been terminated?

The McAuliffe administration announced on April 15, 2015, that the commonwealth issued a notice to terminate its contract with U.S. 460 Mobility Partners regarding the delivery of the Route 460 Project in southeastern Virginia. VDOT will proceed with completing environmental work on the project.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation, with the support of the McAuliffe administration, has provided a notice of termination to U.S. 460 Mobility Partners for Route 460 construction,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “The commonwealth has determined it is in the taxpayers’ best interest to terminate the contract. VDOT tried to work with the contractor to deliver the revised project in a cost effective manner. These efforts proved unsuccessful. The state will aggressively pursue all options available to do what is best for the public interest.”

How can I stay informed of the latest information on the project?

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For additional questions, contact the Route 460 project team at 1-855-460-4600 or at info@Route460Project.org.
 

Project Updates

Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Available For Review

RICHMOND – The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have issued a Notice of Availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement...

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Engaging with our federal partners is critical as we work through the complexities of environmental work and project development. Charlie Kilpatrick,
Commisssioner, Virginia
Department of Transportation
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