Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative?
Over its length the preferred alternative:
- Improves safety by yielding the lowest crash rates;
- Maximizes evacuation capacity in this portion of the study corridor;
- Enhances safety and mobility by separating local and regional traffic, which allows for improved access to community facilities while accommodating truck traffic with a free-flow connection to Route 58;
- Addresses citizen concerns related to flooding and projected sea-level rise by providing infrastructure that incorporates federal initiatives addressing climate change and coastal resiliency;
- Provides the greatest travel time savings;
- Provides the most effective new route for freight movement in this portion of the study corridor; and,
- As indicated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), appears to be the Least Environmentally Damaging Practical Alternative (LEDPA), an important consideration in advancing any improvement.
How was the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative identified?
Approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in February 2015, the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative is the result of a combination of alternatives that were included in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which was made available in September 2014 and presented at three location public hearings in October 2014.
Following the publication of the Draft SEIS, VDOT determined that none of the improvements evaluated over the entire 55-mile corridor would be viable options, based on public comments that were received, input from the resource and regulatory agencies regarding the estimated environmental impacts and the cost opinions that had been developed.
As a result, VDOT carefully reconsidered the alternatives that were studied in the Draft SEIS - in whole, in parts, and in hybrid combination with one another - in order to identify a single alternative that would best meet the identified project purpose and need, while minimizing environmental impacts and providing the most cost effective project.
What reduction of impacts to streams and wetlands has been made through the use of avoidance and minimization measures?
- The analysis resulting from the 2014 Draft SEIS indicated that the Draft SEIS Preferred Alternative could impact 52 acres of wetlands and 13,800 linear feet of streams.
- Additional field work during the summer of 2015 established a more accurate baseline of potential impacts of 49 acres of wetlands and 9,473 linear feet of streams.
- In the fall of 2015, VDOT adjusted and refined the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative, as the design for permitting advanced, to avoid and minimize both wetland and stream impacts.
- Through this concerted effort, the impacts were reduced to 39 acres of wetlands and 6,874 linear feet of streams.
How is the current project design refined from the previously presented preferred alternative?
- Reduction of property impacts and impacts to other resources, including wetlands and streams, through roadway alignment adjustments and decreased footprint widths
- Inclusion of a new intersection west of the town of Windsor and a new interchange east of Windsor, connecting the proposed Route 460 to existing Route 460
- Provision of an interchange configuration at the Route 460 / Route 58 eastern terminus that is consistent with current operational analyses
What is the Project timeline?
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted unanimously at their October 2016 meeting to submit the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia for Smart Scale scoring. The current Smart Scale policy guidelines allow the CTB to submit up to two projects during each Smart Scale cycle. VDOT is developing the Smart Scale application. VDOT evaluation teams will be working through December 2016 to screen and score all projects and provide project rankings to the CTB in January. The scores will be publicly available sometime in January. The CTB will solicit public input regarding the scored projects through the spring of 2017. Following the outcome of the SMART SCALE scoring process, the solicitation of public input, and public hearings on the Draft Six Year Improvement Program, the CTB will determine the projects to be funded for construction and included in the Final Six Year Improvement Program. The Final SYIP will be adopted in June 2017. The June adoption of the Final 2017 SYIP will mark the point at which a decision will be made regarding the Route 460 project.
VDOT submitted the Joint Permit Application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) in November 2015. As part of the review of the permit application, the USACE held a public comment period ending January 5, 2016.The USACE solicited comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian tribes; and other interested parties, in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed improvements.
On July 27, 2016, VDOT, in collaboration with the USACE and FHWA completed the Final SEIS for the 16-mile Project: Route 460 Project in Southeast Virginia. VDOT, FHWA and the USACE signed the Final SEIS in June 2016. A 30-day public comment period began following the Notice of Availability published on June 24, 2016. Likewise, the DEQ concluded its 30-day public comment period beginning on July 22, 2016.
Following the close of the comment periods and consideration of all comments received, USACE considered the Project and issued a permit decision.
Prior to making any final decisions, VDOT and FHWA will provide the public, local governments, and state and federal resource and regulatory agencies additional opportunities to provide additional input and comment. Additional opportunities for public coordination that will occur include:
- During draft Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) public hearings.
- During additional public involvement outreach efforts, as determined necessary by FHWA, once a decision is made on funding.
Any comments received during the SYIP and HB2 process will be considered and addressed in the Record of Decision (ROD) to be completed by FHWA. The ROD is the final step in the EIS process for FHWA and will:
• Confirm the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative;
• Present the basis for FHWA’s decision;
• Summarize all the alternatives considered; and,
• Outline all commitments agreed upon during the NEPA process.
Before any property can be acquired or construction can begin, the project must receive a ROD from FHWA.
Which counties studied during the Draft SEIS process are no longer affected?
Properties west of the Limits of Disturbance (LOD) of the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative, located in Prince George, Sussex and Surry counties, will no longer be affected.
Has the contract with U.S. 460 Mobility Partners been terminated?
The McAuliffe administration announced on April 15, 2015, that the Commonwealth issued a notice to terminate its contract with U.S. 460 Mobility Partners regarding the delivery of the Route 460 Project in southeastern Virginia.
How can I stay informed of the latest information on the project?