New paths considered for Rt. 460
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Jun 13, 2014, 11:29
PRINCE GEORGE — The Virginia Department of Transportation announced Tuesday five possible routes for the construction on the “Commonwealth Connector,” Route 460.
The new road is a 55-mile, tolled alternative to the current Route 460, which starts in Prince George County and leads to Suffolk.
At the Prince George Board of Supervisors meeting, Williams Mackey, the design oversight manager with VDOT introduced the five possible alternatives for the construction, which is currently on hold following a stop work order by Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne.
The order, made March 14, was put in place in order for a supplemental environmental impact statement to happen.
“The draft SEIS is the first phase of this project to reevaluate multiple alternatives, understand their impact, understand their benefits, and their cost,” Mackey said.
The project was halted due to new information that showed more wetland and aquatic impacts than previously thought. Studies show that the project may impact approximately 480 acres of wetlands along the corridor.
The SEIS will study each alternative route and it’s impact on the surrounding environment. The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration are working with VDOT to prepare the SEIS.
The five alternative routes are as follows:
• Alternative one is a four-lane tolled road that runs south of the existing U.S. Route 460, and is being identified by VDOT as the preferred alternative in the original Environmental Impact Statement.
• Alternative two is a four-lane road that runs along the existing U.S. Route 460 including six bypasses around the existing towns.
• Alternative three a four-lane tolled road that runs north of the existing U.S. Route 460.
• Alternative four is a four-lane road that runs along the existing U.S. Route 460 with improvements to meet standards for medians, shoulders, and intersections.
• Alternative five is an eight-lane road that follows a corridor similar to Alt 2. Four of the eight lanes (two eastbound, two westbound) are tolled and the remaining four lanes are un-tolled local roads with an eastbound and westbound lane on each side of the tolled road.
The idea of this new route construction on 460 came about in order to decrease the amount of traffic on the current route, as well as allow for a more efficient hurricane evacuation route from the Virginia Beach area.
Following the draft SEIS, public hearings will be held in several communities along the corridor in order for the community to weigh in on the different alternatives and how it will impact the community.