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About Route 460 Project Southeast VA

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is developing the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia. The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) considered the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) developed by VDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and approved the location for U.S. 460 corridor improvements in February 2015.

Work is solely focused on completing the environmental phase for the proposed route, also called the Preferred Alternative, which includes 17 miles of improvements from two miles west of Zuni to Route 58 in the City of Suffolk.  At this time, no decision has been made on construction. Before the project can acquire property or begin construction, it must receive a Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The project must also be scored under a new law, known as House Bill 2 (HB2).  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.

Map of Route 460 Project Area in Southeast VA

Summary of the recommended Preferred Alternative:

  • Wetland impacts – 52 acres
  • Displacements – 22, including 15 residential properties, 3 commercial properties, 3 farms and one non-profit property
  • Safety – 41 percent lower than the no build alternative
  • Evacuation  capacity – 13,400 vehicles per hour with seven lanes of contraflow versus the no build alternative
  • Mobility – improves safety and mobility by separating local and regional traffic

The estimated cost of the project ranges from $375 million to $425 million.

Next steps:

The Final SEIS will include documentation of the Preferred Alternative and responses to comments received on the Draft SEIS.

The Final SEIS was initiated in April 2015.  A Record of Decision from FHWA and permit decision from USACE are expected by Summer 2016.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of the preferred alternative? The Preferred Alternative:

  • Improves safety by yielding the lowest corridor crash rates.
  • Maximizes evacuation capacity.
  • 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. 

The approved 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, it became apparent that the improvements evaluated over the entire 55-mile corridor would not be viable options, based on public comments that were received, preliminary input regarding the estimated environmental impacts, and anticipated cost constraints.   As a result, the alternatives that were studied in the Draft SEIS were carefully reconsidered - in whole, in parts, and in hybrid combination with one another. Our goal was 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 is the project timeline?

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) adopted a resolution on February 18, 2015, approving this Preferred Alternative location for the Route 460 Project in Southeast Virginia. Since then, the study team continues to develop a more detailed understanding of the specific impacts of the proposed Preferred Alternative. Field work activities are underway and will likely continue through this summer. We anticipate obtaining a Record of Decision and environmental permits by summer 2016.  Right of way acquisition and construction cannot begin before these have been granted.

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

Properties west of the 17 mile 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. More than 520 public comments were received during this period and they were evaluated along with potential social, economic and environmental impacts to improve transportation on the Route 460 corridor.

Has the contract with US 460 Mobility Partners been terminated?

The McAuliffe administration announced on April 15, 2015 that the Commonwealth issued a notice to terminate its contract with US 460 Mobility Partners regarding the delivery of the Route 460 project in southeastern Virginia.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with the support of the McAuliffe administration, has provided a notice of termination to US 460 Mobility Partners for Route 460 construction,” said Transportation Secretary 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.”

VDOT will proceed with completing environmental work on the project. In February, The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a new location for Route 460 corridor improvements, which would span 17 miles from Suffolk to west of Zuni.  VDOT and its federal partners identified that this alternative has the possibility of qualifying for a permit. The next step is to conduct public outreach on this alternative, complete the Final SEIS for the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) approval, and prepare a permit application to submit to USACE.

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

Please sign up to receive the project newsletter or contact the project team at 1-855-460-4600 or Info@Route460Project.org.

 

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

Project Updates

Gov McAuliffe announces settlement to recover taxpayer dollars from Route 460 contract

CHESAPEAKE – Gov. Terry McAuliffe today announced that his administration has reached an agreement with U.S. 460 Mobility Partners...

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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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