Congress approves funds to study Route 460 improvements

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005

Staff Report

The U.S. House of Representatives last week voted to spend $9 million in federal funding to study improvements of U.S.

Route 460, between Suffolk and Petersburg.

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The funding is part of the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy For Users (TEA-LU), a packages which reauthorizes federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs for a period of six years.

The authorized funds for Route 460 will provide for a study to assess the improvement of the highway along the Petersburg-Hampton Roads corridor from approximately I-295 to Bowers Hill.

This authorization also includes an evaluation of rail along this route.

&uot;The authorization of this study is extremely important to the region.

Not only does Route 460 serve as a freight corridor and an access to the ports, as we have seen, in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster Rt. 460 is a vital civilian evacuation route and the facility provides access to the bases allowing for transport of both troops and equipment,&uot; U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes said. &uot;We are very excited to receive this funding authorization amidst tight budgetary constraints across the nation.&uot;

Specifically, the study of the approximately 60-mile stretch of 460 will include an environmental analysis, evaluation of a new location for a limited access highway, construction analysis development, an upgrade of the existing 460 roadway, and project development for a public-private partnership solicitation.

TEA-LU now has to go to President George W. Bush to be signed into the law.

Improvements to the four-lane highway has become a recent focal point among residents and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Two weeks ago, more than 700 people have attended two public forums in Windsor and Prince George County to see three alternate 460 routes being studied from the Virginia Department of Transportation.