Work on 460 could begin in 2013

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

By Dale Liesch and Gwen Albers
Special to the News-Herald

Construction on the new U.S. Route 460 connecting Petersburg to Suffolk could begin in early 2013.

The five-year construction project is expected to require 4,000 workers, and when completed, should create 14,000 jobs, state officials say.

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The tollbooths along the 55-mile corridor, which will go through Isle of Wight and Southampton counties south of the current 460, will not accept cash. There will be an electronic toll-collection system that will take E-ZPasses.

That’s some of the news shared with Southampton County Board of Supervisors and state lawmakers during Monday meetings to update officials on plans for the highway, which is estimated to cost $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion.

Delegate Rick Morris, R-Carrollton, who met with reporters after the meeting, said the three companies vying for the project will submit bids by Monday, Oct. 8. A contract will be awarded on Dec. 17, to Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.U., 460 Partners Inc. or Multimodal Solutions, he said.

“The bid will only be for construction,” Morris said. “The private company won’t have ownership.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin purchasing land in December after the contract is awarded. Landowners unhappy with offers can appeal, Morris said.

The highway will have seven interchanges, including one at Route 258 in Windsor, he said.

Speaking to Southampton supervisors during their Monday meeting, VDOT Project Manager Phil Rinehart said the new highway is needed to get the trucks off Route 460.

Trucks that take the new highway instead of the existing one could expect to save 25 minutes, officials say. Tolls for cars would run between $3.85 and $5.50 each way.

“We think in the next five years, this will create 4,000 jobs during the construction phase,” Rinehart said. “Projections are 14,000 new jobs. Hopefully, we will get those jobs and do better.”

Officials say the new road could help keep military facilities in Hampton Roads and provide for a better hurricane evacuation route.

“It will take some relief off (Interstate) 64, but the bigger issue is the safety along the corridor and creating some new work,” Rinehart said.

In the works for six years, the project will be overseen by VDOT.