Public hearing ongoing for Route 460 project

Published 11:25 am Friday, December 4, 2015

The Virginia Department of Transportation in November submitted a Joint Permit Application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for proposed improvements along the Route 460 corridor from approximately one mile west of Zuni to the Route 460/Route 58 interchange in Suffolk.

From west of Zuni to 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. The project would also consist of a new four-lane divided highway from west of Windsor to the Route 460/Route 58 interchange in Suffolk. The properties west of these proposed improvements, in Prince George, Sussex and Surry counties, will not be affected.

As part of the review of the permit application, USACE will hold a public comment period through Tuesday, Jan. 5. The USACE will solicit 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. The USACE Public Notice may be viewed at

Through the environmental study process, a more detailed understanding of the specific impacts associated with the project was developed. Through the use of avoidance and minimization measures, VDOT — in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration, USACE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality — 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; and

• Through this concerted effort, the impacts were reduced to 39 wetland acres and 6,874 linear feet of streams.

A final decision has not been made on construction of the project. Before any property can be acquired or construction can begin, the project must receive a permit from USACE, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and a Record of Decision from FHWA. The Project will be scored under a new law, House Bill 2, based on an objective data-driven process. Once the Project is scored, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether or not to advance the Project for further design and construction.

The overall purpose of the Route 460 improvements is to construct a facility that is consistent with the functional classification of the corridor, sufficiently address safety, mobility and evacuation needs, and sufficiently accommodate freight traffic along the Route 460 corridor. Support for such improvements is based on identified needs to address roadway deficiencies, improve safety, accommodate increasing freight traffic, reduce travel delay, provide adequate evacuation capability, improve strategic military connectivity, and support local economic development plans.

Visit the project website for more information, and stay tuned for future E-Updates. The project team can be reached by toll-free information line at 1-855-460-4600