VDOT plans major changes to Route 460 expansion project


by Patrick Terpstra | Follow me on Twitter: @patrickterpstra


Posted on July 20, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 20 at 5:31 PM

RICHMOND -- The Virginia Department of Transportation on Tuesday unveiled major changes to plans to improve an important hurricane evacuation route in Hampton Roads.

In a Web-based conference Tuesday with prospective contractors, newly sworn-in VDOT Commissioner Gregory Whirley outlined new changes to the 55-mile Route 460 project.    It would be a limited access, four-lane, divided highway from the existing Route 460 near the I-295 interchange in Prince George County to the Route 58 bypass just south of Route 460 in Suffolk.

VDOT is hoping to court a contractor willing to primarily fund the road improvements in exchange for proceeds for tolls.

Whirley says contractors will only be able to toll Route 460 instead of other highways, which was once the hallmark of Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to pay for the improvements.

In June, there was no state or federal funding for the project.  Now, VDOT is offering to subsidize part of the project.

Whirley also said Gov. McDonnell would consider pushing legislation to provide tax breaks and waive certain rules in hopes of speeding up construction.

VDOT says preliminary cost estimates for the project could range from $1.5 to $2 billion.

VDOT says proposals for new, innovative financing methods are due by August 5.

Officials say construction would take about four years once a design was approved and an agreement reached.