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The Virginia Department of Transportation will host a public hearing in James City County on Thursday to discuss proposed plans to widen Interstate 64 from near Lee Hall to slightly west of Water Country USA.
The hearing runs from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton Williamsburg located at 50 Kingsmill Road. Citizens who attend can look at preliminary plans to widen the road and discuss them with VDOT representatives. The meeting is open house style with no formal presentation.
Work is set to begin next month to widen I-64 from where it goes to two lanes in each direction near Jefferson Avenue (Exit 255) to a point just east of Lee Hall (Exit 247). That project, which will add one lane in each direction, is the first of three phases to widen I-64 to Lightfoot (Exit 234).
The plans set to be presented Thursday represent phase two of the work. Regional transportation planners voted earlier this month to fund about $6 million of preliminary engineering for phase two of the widening, and they are likely going to allocate money from 2013’s sweeping state reform of transportation funding to pay for the project.
At an April 20 meeting of the regional transportation planners — a group of Hampton Roads leaders known as the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission — VDOT Hampton Roads Administrator Jim Utterback said work could begin on phase two by Winter 2016 with a completion date of 2019. Phase one is expected to be complete by December 2017.
Phase two covers 7.05 miles of roadway. It is estimated to cost $214 million, a sum that includes a resurfacing of the existing roadway. The project would also widen nine bridges and alter six culverts. The lanes would be added to the road’s median.
Utterback said at the April 20 meeting that VDOT is considering using the road’s shoulders as morning and afternoon peak travel lanes. A similar setup is used on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia, where the shoulders open to commuters during the morning and evening commutes.
Before VDOT can give the green light for work to commence on phase two, the state’s Commonwealth Transportation Board must include the project in its Six Year Improvement Program. VDOT anticipates the CTB will consider the addition in December. The Federal Highway Administration also needs to approve the project.
Citizens who are unable to attend the meeting can share their thoughts on the project by contacting VDOT through email at Janet.Hedrick@VDOT.Virginia.gov or by sending them to the following address:
Janet Hedrick, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation
1992 South Military Highway
Chesapeake, Va. 23320
All subject lines should read “I-64 Segment II Capacity Improvements Comment.” Comments are due by May 10.