Detailed Route 460 plans sought

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

RICHMOND—The Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider a review panel’s recommendation this month that three companies should be asked to flesh out their proposals for construction of a new

U.S. Route 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk.

The board is expected to ask that each of the three companies that submitted proposals add more detail about their plans and resubmit them early in 2008.

Cintra USA, Itinere and Virginia Corridor Partners all submitted proposals in September through the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act procurement process. The independent review panel was charged with evaluating the plans and making a recommendation to the transportation board.

The 17-member CTB is appointed by the governor to allocate highway funding to specific projects, to locate routes and to provide funding for airports, seaports and public transportation. The board will be responsible for the final choice among the competing proposals.

During its last meeting, in May, the panel reviewed public comments from earlier hearings and decided that all three proposals offer valid alternatives that warrant further consideration.

&uot;It appears that all three of these private-sector partners have presented viable means to complete the much-needed improvements of this vital shipping, commuting and emergency-response route,&uot; said transportation board Chairman Alan S. Witt, who chaired the review group.

Each of the companies proposed a different combination of private investment, user fees, tolls and other financing methods to pay for the new road.

The panel also made a number of secondary recommendations about elements that should be included in each of the proposals.

Among those secondary recommendations are:

* Study the options for improving Interstate 64 separately from the Route 460 project;

* Identify acceptable changes in the scope of the project that could result in lower costs;

* Provide a plan for construction of interchanges;

* Detail any proposed improvements to the existing Route 460;

* Consider the impacts of the project on surrounding properties, secondary roads, wetlands, historical properties and so forth;

* Provide detail of proposed toll rates and a timetable for future toll-rate changes.

The transportation board will take action on the panel’s recommendations during its July 19 meeting in Fredericksburg.