Top stories of 2017: I-64 widening continues

When Gov. Terry McAuliffe took office in 2013, he campaigned on the promise of improving transportation in the commonwealth.

“He’s paved the way — and I really believe this — for the most successful projects in Hampton Roads like this. He campaigned on this, and he kept his promises,” state Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane said this month, when officials held a ceremony to mark the completion of the first segment of the Interstate 64 widening project.

The project is broken into three independently contracted segments and ultimately will widen 21 miles of I-64, starting west of Jefferson Avenue in Newport News to west of Newman Road in York County. Segment I, which ran 5.6 miles from Route 143 to Route 238, was finished Dec. 1 on time and under budget. Now that segment has a new 12-foot-wide travel lane and 12-foot-wide shoulder in each direction, widening the road to six lanes. It cost $122 million.

Segment II has a $189 million estimated price tag and should be completed in spring 2019. Construction on Segment III will start in fall 2018 and should cost $311 million.

The projects in part are funded by the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund, which is overseen by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and gets money from sales and fuel tax.

The quick-moving transportation projects have been a cornerstone of the McAuliffe administration. The governor’s often expressed pride in his administration’s ability to fix transportation in Hampton Roads, which had seen a few bad years.

“We inherited the Midtown Tunnel, one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen; the 460 deal was a rip-off of the taxpayers. Those days are over,” McAuliffe said at the December ceremony in Newport News.

Next up: Widening the I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel from two to four-lane segments, which will be procured before McAuliffe leaves office in January, he said.

Mishkin can be reached by phone at 757-641-6669. Follow her on Twitter at @KateMishkin.

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