The Hampton Roads area is growing. Businesses are moving in, homes are being built, and tourists are continuing to flock to our beautiful beaches and charming cities.
So, it's no surprise that the transport routes around Hampton Roads have been getting a bit congested. But don't worry - the cities have been hard at work on plans to upgrade, expand, improve, and extend our infrastructure to make life easier and safer for everyone.
You may already have seen some safety cones popping up along your morning commute, and you have some questions, like "what?", "where?", and "for how long?".
Looking for answers? Well you're in the right place!
Read on to learn about some of the bigger projects on the horizon for Hampton Roads.
The I-64, I-264 Interchange Improvements
The busy intersection of the I-64 and I-264 highways between Norfolk and Virginia Beach is getting a makeover. In fact, you've probably already noticed the construction happening along the southeastern edge of the intersection.
Here's what's happening:
- I-64 north of the Twin Bridges over the Elizabeth River is being widened
- Two new ramps are being added to the intersection
- Connectors on the east side of the intersection are being upgraded
And that's just phase 1.
Phase 2 consists of a flyover connecting Cleveland Street and Greenwich Road, more improvements to the Witchduck interchange, and improvements to the intersection with Newtown road.
Phase 1 is expected to be completed by October 2019, and Phase 2 sometime in 2021.
Altogether, this amounts to roughly 4 miles of improvements along the I-264 and I-64 which will significantly improve traffic flow and safety. Traffic disruptions should be expected throughout the process, but these will be restricted to off-peak hours (whenever possible) and publicized well in advance.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Project
Not to be confused with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge up near Annapolis, this particular engineering marvel has been slashing travel times to Philadelphia and New York since the 1960s.
Now the bridge is undergoing expansion, adding an entirely new two-lane tunnel to run in parallel with the existing one. This Thimble Shoal Channel - as it is called - is projected to be finished around 2022.
After that, more expansions are planned, extending all the way to 2040.
The only disruptions for now are to the restaurant, gift shop, and fishing pier on southernmost island (also known as One Island, or South Thimble Island). All of these amenities are currently closed until further notice.
Click here to read more about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Project.
Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion
Connecting Hampton to Willoughby Spit, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is one of the busiest spans in the Hampton Roads area. Once intended to carry around 77,000 vehicles per day, it now regularly carries over 100,000 vehicles per day.
This traffic has caused congestion issues along the I-64 running into Norfolk and Newport News. But that is set to change with the planned addition of another tunnel across the bay and the widening of the I-64 on either side.
More precise plans haven't been released, so expected impacts of the project are uncertain. However, the project is said to be the biggest in Virginia history, with a price tag extending into the billions.
The proposed completion date is sometime in 2024.
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