Contract and permit work is being temporarily suspended on the Rte. 460 project in southeastern Virginia while the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues the needed environmental reviews.
“Suspending contract and permit work is a prudent and practical move to cut spending while the focus is 100% on securing environmental approvals,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “The commonwealth remains committed to moving forward on Rte. 460 corridor improvements. They are needed to provide an additional hurricane evacuation route and to better move commerce from the port. This benefits safety, mobility and future economic development. But services are not needed now from US 460 Mobility Partners, the design-build firm that was contracted to build the new Rte. 460. This will limit costs to only what is absolutely necessary to conduct environmental work, which will be led and managed by VDOT.”
The $1.4 billion contract was awarded in late 2012 to US 460 Mobility Partners to design and build a new 55-mile limited-access highway that would parallel the existing Rte. 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg.
While the project had a previous Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), it must also have a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since construction would impact streams and wetlands. At the request of the Corps and the FHWA, VDOT is updating the environmental impacts of the project and reviewing other alternatives. Once this environmental work is completed, the Corps will consider a permit decision.
Layne added, “It is too early to determine the final outcome of the project at this time. The environmental review process, which will include public input, will help to decide what’s best for the region. We have to let that process unfold. In the meantime, no public dollars will be spent on the project other than what is necessary to complete the environmental review process.”