New Route 460 back on table as toll road

Published 8:37 am Friday, May 7, 2010

SUFFOLK—Six months after deciding the state could not afford to pay for a replacement of Route 460, officials have issued a new request for proposals for the project.

Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board announced Monday that it had closed the partnered procurement process that it began with private companies in 2008.

On Wednesday, the CTB initiated a new procurement search with stipulations apparently designed to make the project more palatable for the companies that might be interested in building the road.

The new procurement calls for the project to be funded solely through tolls, and it would give the developer control of the new road for an initial term of up to 75 years, with the potential to extend that control for up to 99 years.

In another bow to the commercial viability of the project, the CTB assumes in its new procurement that the 55-mile, four-lane, limited-access highway — which would stretch from Route 58 in Suffolk to Interstate 295 in Prince George County — would initially have interchanges only at each end.

The issue of interchanges was a particularly sticky one for communities along the path of the proposed road during public hearings held in support of the earlier procurement. Elected leaders and economic development officials worried that a lack of exits would mean a loss of commerce in their communities.

The new procurement document states that the commonwealth would accept a “phased approach to develop the project and a minimum scope of work for the first phase.”

Planned interchanges at Route 258 in Isle of Wight, Route 616 in Southampton, Routes 602, 40 and 620 in Sussex and Routes 156 and 625 in Prince George could be added later, “as funding becomes available,” the document states.