U.S. Route 460 Communications Committee
August 8, 2001, Hampton Roads
The focus of the meeting was a briefing on the nature, scope, timetable, and funding of the U.S. Route 460 Project by a representative of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
The project grew from a study, authorized in the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, of the feasibility of establishing a new coast-to-coast transportation corridor (the so-called TransAmerica Corridor). One of the potential alignments of this corridor (from Beckley, West Virginia, via Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Petersburg to Virginia Beach) ran along U.S. Route 460. The present U.S. Route 460 project is involved with the PetersburgVirginia Beach portion of the TransAmerica Corridor.
Within this corridor, three major options are presently under study by VDOT:
Without major improvements, the U.S. 460 corridor would be reduced to Level of Service (LOS) "D" ("A" being the best, least congested, LOS, and "F" the worst, most congested LOS) by 2020, assuming the Third Crossing of Hampton Roads has been built. Congestion would be worst toward the southeastern end of the corridor.
An aggressive public information and public participation effort by VDOT is a key element of this study. To date, the department has held five public information meetings, published three newsletters, and distributed an informational video dealing with the U.S. 460 corridor and associated possibilities. On the basis of data collected so far, VDOT has drawn some preliminary conclusions:
The next steps in the process (assuming a "no build" option is rejected), will be (i) inclusion of identified specific improvement in the region's metropolitan planning organizations' long range transportation plans, (ii) inclusion of locally identified projects in the Virginia Transportation Development Plan, (iii) location and design studies, (iv) design of the facilities to be constructed and acquisition of required right-of-way and permits, and (v) actual construction.
Chairman McDonnell indicated his intention to call two further meetings of the committee before the convening of the 2002 Session of the General Assembly. The first of these would (i) provide an opportunity for VDOT to respond in more detail to questions raised at today's meeting, (ii) consider a "best-case-scenario" schedule for improvements to the U. S. 460 corridor, and (iii) provide a forum for comments by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and other concerned business organizations and local governments. The second he hoped would be a joint meeting with the Third Crossing Study, the Unfunded Transportation Needs of Hampton Roads Study, and the Virginia-North Carolina High-Speed Rail Study.