Public has new opportunity to comment on 460

Published 10:58 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Virginia Department of Transportation on Friday afternoon issued a press release stating that United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration have issued a Notice of Availability, inviting comments from residents about the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Route 460 project in Southeastern Virginia.

Those comments will be accepted for 30 days after the issuance of the notice on June 24.

The Final SEIS provides decision-makers with information about the environmental impact of the proposed project, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1964. That project can be viewed online at

Residents wanting to see a printed version can do so during business hours at the VDOT district offices in Courtland, Suffolk, Petersburg, Williamsburg and Colonial Heights. The plan is also available for viewing at the libraries in Windsor, Wakefield, Surry and Prince George.

The release goes on to state that after the comment period, all remarks are to considered and it is anticipated that the USACE will issue a decision on whether to permit the project or not.

Windsor Mayor Carita Richardson, who has been leading opposition to a proposed northern bypass, said, “I would encourage all the people in the Windsor area to make written comments to send to them about the northern bypass and no access for Windsor. If we were to have a flood from a storm or whatever, there are areas in Windsor that could flood. So basically, it’s a very dangerous situation for us.”

She added that the bypass doesn’t support the town’s economic plan, which is to the south.

Further, “It’s very expensive for the few miles of highway. Again, we are supporting redoing 460 through the town and putting in a center lane as designed by Walter Kulash for the Southern Environmental Law Center,” said Richardson, who added that plan would only would impact two to three businesses in town as well as improve safety. “The center lane acts as a division between the east and west lanes,” she said.

That plan would also cost much less and impact fewer wetlands, “and that should be the one that’s chosen instead of the northern bypass. Then you would have five lanes for evacuations.”

If a favorable permit decision is issued, the proposal will be given a score by “SMART SCALE,” which is Virginia’s data-driven prioritization process. In addition to the permit, and the prioritization score, a Record of Decision 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 fund the project.

Staff writer Walter Francis contributed to this report.