RICHMOND — Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller announced Tuesday that a project to begin widening the 64 Gap — the 29-mile section of Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg where the highway narrows from three to two lanes in each direction — is moving forward.
“This notoriously congested stretch of interstate disrupts one of Virginia’s vital thoroughfares,” said Secretary Miller. “Adding a third lane in each direction will unlock the corridor, unify Richmond and Hampton Roads, grow the economy, and provide opportunities for all.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the first of three segments of the project on Dec. 16. The first segment stretches from mile marker 205 in Bottoms Bridge to mile marker 215.6, slightly more than a mile east of Courthouse Road (Exit 214) in New Kent County.
“The importance of connecting the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions cannot be overstated,” Secretary Miller added. “Issuing this RFQ is the first step in closing the gap and realizing the RVA/757 region’s true potential while improving safety on the corridor.”
“With unprecedented support from the General Assembly, Central Virginia Transportation Authority, Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and VDOT, the Commonwealth has demonstrated a commitment to providing infrastructure that delivers opportunities for all, improves travel time reliability, reduces congestion, and improves safety,” added VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich.
According to VDOT, adding a third lane in each direction will provide a more efficient and safer connection between Richmond and Hampton Roads. VDOT has been preparing for the expansion since the completion of the widening projects at Bottoms Bridge in New Kent and Segment 3 in Hampton Roads.
“I-64 is an important evacuation route for the Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina areas in the event of an emergency. Widening the 64 Gap will improve traffic flow when we need it most,” Brich explained.
The addition of 10-foot-wide paved shoulders on both sides of the road will help move traffic around minor accidents, provide unobstructed travel for emergency vehicles, and offer stranded motorists peace of mind in the event they experience a breakdown, VDOT said.
VDOT expects to release a request for proposals in the spring of 2023, and expects to award a design-build contract in the fall. VDOT estimates completion of the section by winter of 2026-27.
VDOT said it recently secured final National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approval for the entire widening project, clearing the way for final design and construction.
The 29-mile-long project, from mile marker 205 at Bottoms Bridge just east of I-295 to the Lightfoot exit (mile marker 234), adds a 12-foot travel lane in both directions and 10-foot paved shoulders on both the inside and outside lanes by utilizing the median.
Virginia is seeking federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Opportunity to support funding for the project, which VDOT estimates will cost approximately $750 million.
The project will also widen and rehabilitate multiple bridges, and install new overhead signs, cameras to help with incident alerts, sound barrier walls, culvert and pipe repairs, and storm drainage and stormwater management systems.
More information can be found on VDOT’s webpage on the project.
Anyone with questions about the project may call VDOT’s customer service center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623). For the latest real-time traffic information or road conditions, call 511 or visit 511virginia.org.