Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller announced on Tuesday that the Commonwealth is advancing a long-awaited project to begin widening the “64 Gap”, the 29-mile section of Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg where the highway narrows from three to two lanes in each direction.
“This notoriously congested stretch of interstate disrupts one of Virginia’s vital thoroughfares,” said Secretary Miller. “Adding a third lane in each direction will unlock the corridor, unify Richmond and Hampton Roads, grow the economy, and provide opportunities for all.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the first of three segments of the 64 Gap project on Friday, Dec. 16.
This first segment stretches from mile marker 205 in Bottoms Bridge to mile marker 215.6, slightly more than a mile east of Courthouse Road (Exit 214) in New Kent County at an estimated cost of $277 million.
“The importance of connecting the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions cannot be overstated,” Secretary Miller added. “Issuing this RFQ is the first step in closing the gap and realizing the RVA/757 region’s true potential while improving safety on the corridor.”
“With unprecedented support from the General Assembly, Central Virginia Transportation Authority, Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and VDOT, the Commonwealth has demonstrated a commitment to providing infrastructure that delivers opportunities for all, improves travel time reliability, reduces congestion, and improves safety,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich.
Adding a third lane in each direction of the 64 Gap provides a more efficient and safer connection between Richmond and Hampton Roads. Since the conclusion of the I-64 widening projects at Bottoms Bridge in New Kent and Segment 3 in Hampton Roads, VDOT has been preparing for the remaining 29-mile section for expansion.
Brich added, “I-64 is an important evacuation route for the Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina areas in the event of an emergency. Widening the 64 Gap will improve traffic flow when we need it most.”
The forthcoming 10-foot wide paved shoulders on both sides of the road will help move traffic around minor accidents, provide unobstructed travel for emergency vehicles, and offer stranded motorists peace of mind in the event they experience a breakdown.
VDOT will release a Request for Proposals for this initial section in spring 2023 and expects to award a Design-Build contract in the fall of 2023. The estimated completion of this section is winter 2026-27.
VDOT recently secured final National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approval for the entire widening project, clearing the way for final design and construction. The 29-mile-long project, from mile marker 205 at Bottoms Bridge just east of I-295 to the Lightfoot exit (mile marker 234) in the Williamsburg area, adds a 12-foot travel lane in both directions and 10-foot paved shoulders on both the inside and outside lanes. The median is being used for the additional lanes and shoulders.
The Commonwealth is seeking federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Opportunity to support funding for the full project. VDOT estimates the entire 29-mile project will cost approximately $750 million.
In addition to the roadway widening, the project will widen and rehabilitate multiple bridges, and install new overhead signs, cameras to help with incident alerts, sound barrier walls, culvert and pipe repairs, and storm drainage and stormwater management systems.
More information about the project can be found at: https://www.virginiadot.org/projects/richmond/i-64-gap-segment-a-widening.asp.
Anyone with questions about the project may call VDOT’s customer service center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623). For the latest real-time traffic information or road conditions, call 511 or visit http://www.511virginia.org.