NORFOLK, Va. – By this time next year, construction should be well underway to improve a section of I-64 in Norfolk from I-264 to I-564.
VDOT is trying to cut down on some of the traffic jams along the busy stretch of interstate.
Driving on Interstate 64 for years, heading to the military base or airport in Norfolk, Deborah Shuler knows the times to stay off the road.
“Whether you’re going to Tidewater Drive or Little Creek Road, people merging on from the interstates make it even worse because they’re merging onto oncoming traffic,” said Shuler, a 21-year Norfolk resident. “Or, if you’re riding in the left lane just going straight, they’re flying. Then the traffic gets backed up going toward Hampton. For the most part, you have to hit it at certain times in morning like by 7 going to Hampton because by 8 o’clock it’s horrible. Then coming back, it’s even worse.”
Thousands of drivers are on the busy stretch of road between 264 and 564 every day, but aproject in the works is meant to ease traffic flow and lessen jams.
“The main reason that we really need to reconfigure this Norfolk segment is to improve travel reliability and to help reduce congestion,” said VDOT Sr. Communications Specialist Nina Ullrich.
Spanning nine miles, the three driving lanes and two shoulders will be redesigned, widening the shoulder to be used as a carpool, or “high-occupancy” express lane during peak travel times. The three existing driving lanes will remain.
Two bridges will also be widened.
The total cost of the project for that segment is estimated at $261 million. Once it’s completed, more tolls will be added to help maintain the roadway.
“Right now, we already drive on the reversable lanes, so we already pay tolls,” Ullrich said. “What this segment is going to do is just going to add a couple of sections that’s going to help reduce the congestion and also improve our travel reliability throughout Hampton Roads.”
Paying a little more is something Shuler doesn’t mind if it’ll help in the long run.
“We really need it because of the congestion and if that’s what’s going to help us move smoother,” Shuler said. “We’re being taxed every day anyway through the state, whether it’s through our products, gas, so that’s not going to make a big deal if it’s going to make traffic better for everyone.”
The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) is funding the project.
According to VDOT, construction will start in the fall of 2022 and should be completed in the late winter of 2025.