State board submits U.S. 460 project for funding consideration

New Jamestown-Scotland ferry on the way

The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted unanimously Wednesday to submit the controversial U.S. Route 460 project for scoring and consideration under its Smart Scale funding program this cycle.

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, the board’s chairman, suggested the project be added for consideration, but said Wednesday he is not “pushing for the project.”

The project, which would build and reconstruct about 17 miles of roadway between U.S. 58 in Suffolk, west through Zuni, would cost about $425 million. That’s in addition to the $300 million the state already spent before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied permitting. Construction never began.

The Corps signed off on the scaled-down version earlier this mont, though other permits are still needed.

“I think we would set a terrible precedent to the Corps if we go through all this and get a permit and then say, ‘We changed our minds,’ ” Layne said Wednesday.

No locality or agency submitted the project by the Smart Scale deadline.

A public open house meeting on Smart Scale will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 10 at 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

The CTB will release final project selections for Smart Scale funding in June.

New Jamestown-Scotland ferry on the way

In other business, the CTB voted to add a new ferry to the Jamestown-Scotland fleet.

The ferry will replace The Virginia, which, built in 1936, is the oldest vessel in the Jamestown-Scotland fleet, VDOT spokeswoman Paula Miller said.

VT Halter Marine, of Pascagoula, Miss., will construct the new ferry boat for $16.5 million, Miller said. Construction is expected to be finished by April 2018.

The new ferry will be able to carry 70 vehicles and up to 499 passengers, Miller said.

The 80-year-old Virginia, which was built to carry 1930s-era vehicles, has a 12-ton limit and is only able to carry 25 cars on each pass, Miller said.

The ferries carry drivers over the James River from James City County at Glasshouse Point to Surry County at Scotland Wharf.

Clift can be reached by phone at 757-247-7870.

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