About Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is developing the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the location for improvements associated with the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia in February 2015.
The project would consist of a new four-lane divided highway between the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk to west of Windsor.
From approximately one mile west of Zuni, to two miles west of Windsor, the existing Route 460 would be reconstructed and upgraded to a four-lane divided highway with a new bridge across the Blackwater River to eliminate long-standing flood problems.
From approximately two miles west of Windsor to the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk, a new limited access four-lane divided highway would be constructed.
No improvements associated with the project are proposed in Prince George, Sussex and Surry counties.
Since the identification and approval of the location of the Project improvements, further refinements were applied in order to avoid and minimize impacts to the greatest extent practicable and a proposed project has been carried forward in a Joint Permit Application (JPA) submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).
In November 2015, VDOT submitted the JPA for proposed improvements along the Route 460 corridor from approximately one mile west of Zuni to the Route 460 / Route 58 interchange in Suffolk.
As part of the review of the permit application, USACE held a public comment period from Nov. 30, 2015, to Jan. 20, 2016. The USACE solicited comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes and other interested parties, in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed improvements.
In June 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the USACE approved the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for public review and availability. The Final SEIS is the next step in the environmental review process, following the September 2014 Draft SEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, and provides decision-makers with information about the Project to help them decide whether or not to advance it. Comments received during the public comment period on the Draft SEIS have been considered and addressed in the Final SEIS. The Final SEIS provides a detailed description of the development and identification of the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative, which was first presented during VDOT’s May 2015 public meetings.
As part of the preparation of the permit application and Final SEIS, a more detailed understanding of the specific impacts associated with the project has been developed.
Through the use of avoidance and minimization measures, VDOT, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), USACE, DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency substantially reduced impacts to streams and wetlands throughout the length of the project, as outlined below:
• The analysis resulting from the 2014 Draft SEIS indicated that the Preferred Alternative could impact 52 acres of wetlands and 13,800 linear feet of streams.
• Additional field work during the summer of 2015 established a more accurate baseline of potential impacts of 49 wetland acres and 9,473 linear feet of streams.
• In the fall of 2015, VDOT adjusted and refined the preferred alternative, as the design for permitting advanced, to avoid, minimize and reduce both wetland and stream impacts.
• Through this concerted effort, the impacts were reduced to 39 wetland acres and 6,874 linear feet of streams.
In June 2016, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in collaboration with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) completed the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Route 460 Project in Southeast Virginia. Comments received during the public comment period for the Draft SEIS are addressed in the Final SEIS. The Final SEIS was made available for a 30-day public review and comment period that concluded in July 2016.A final decision has not been made on construction of the project.
Concurrently with the development of the Final SEIS, a Joint Permit Application (JPA) for the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative was prepared and submitted to the USACE, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (DEQVMRC) in November 2015. Each agency issued an individual public notice and conducted separate comment periods to solicit input to inform their respective permitting decisions. Following the close of the comment periods and consideration of all comments received, including those on the Final SEIS, USACE issued a permit in September 2016. DEQ issued a permit in early October and VMRC approved the permit in November 2016.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted unanimously at their October 2016 meeting to submit the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia to be scored and ranked under Virginia's data-driven prioritization process, SMART SCALE. Following the outcome of the SMART SCALE scoring process, the solicitation of public input, and public hearings on the Draft Six Year Improvement Program (SYIP), a decision will be made regarding the Route 460 project. A Record of Decision from FHWA will also be required for the Project to advance to construction.
A final decision has not been made on construction of the project. If a favorable permit decision from USACE is received, the Project will also be scored under SMART SCALE: Funding the Right Transportation Projects in Virginia (formerly, Virginia House Bill 2). In addition, a Record of Decision on the Final SEIS must be received from FHWA. Once the necessary environmental decisions have been made and the Project is scored, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether or not to advance the Project.
The purpose of the improvements to the Route 460 corridor is to construct a facility that is consistent with the functional classification of the corridor, sufficiently addresses safety, mobility, and evacuation needs, and sufficiently accommodates freight traffic along the Route 460 corridor between Petersburg and Suffolk, Virginia.
The following needs have been identified for the project:
• Address roadway deficiencies: Route 460 was designed and constructed using geometric standards that are now outdated.
• Improve safety: Fatality rates for Route 460 are higher than other comparable rural roadways in Virginia.
• Accommodate increasing freight shipments: Truck percentages for Route 460 are higher than national averages for rural roads with similar functional classification, and are forecasted to grow due to expansions at the Port of Virginia.
• Reduce travel delay: Growing future traffic volumes will experience increased travel delays on Route 460 due to capacity limitations at traffic signals and the current design deficiencies.
• Provide adequate emergency evacuation capability: Route 460 is a designated hurricane evacuation route for Southside Hampton Roads communities, yet during recent events, the road was closed due to effects caused by these storms.
• Improve strategic military connectivity: Route 460 is a designated part of the Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) by the Department of Defense (DOD) and FHWA.
• Support local economic development plans: In addition to statewide and regional economic development needs, jurisdictions along the Route 460 study area have identified economic development priorities related to transportation improvements.
Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia