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Lawmakers back funding for I-64 expansion project from Richmond to Hampton Roads

A project created by VDOT called OpportUNITY connector would fix traffic congestion by adding a third lane in each direction.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The 29-mile stretch of I-64 that runs from Richmond down through Hampton Roads has only two lanes on each side, while other parts of the interstate are six lanes or more.

The corridor is referred to as “the gap” because it’s where drivers have to hit the breaks and sit in traffic since the roadway isn’t designed for that many cars.

Drivers say they are tired of sitting in traffic on I-64.

“During the summer months, it’s just impossible. The traffic doesn’t really die down till the later evening,” expressed one Virginia resident.

“It would back up a lot, especially between Richmond and the New Kent area,” said another.

A project created by VDOT called OpportUNITY Connector would fix this problem by adding a third lane in each direction.

The project is expected to cost about $750 million. VDOT sent an application to a grant program run by the United States Department of Transportation to get funding.

The fund request for the I-64 project has garnered support from lawmakers, including both Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. They wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation to use federal infrastructure dollars for the project.

“This is one of the biggest congestion points frankly not just in Virginia, but a huge congestion point all up and down the East Coast,” said Warner.

The I-64 expansion will boost the economy and remedy environmental problems caused by traffic.

“This will put people to work when we do the project. It will help us in terms of emergency escape if there was another bad hurricane in Hampton Roads. We’ve all seen that part of the road clogs up. It’s better for the environment because cars won’t be sitting in traffic as long, and it’ll finally make this connection,” explained Warner.

Drivers just hope extra lanes on I-64 will ease their stress.

“It’s one of the most heavily trafficked highways for getting stuff down to the shipyard and back up to the north, so I think expanding it definitely would help,” one Richmond driver said.

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