VDOT states preference on Bowers Hill

Published 9:22 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Though it is studying two alternatives to improve the Bowers Hill interchange just outside Suffolk, the Virginia Department of Transportation has made its preferred choice known.

Jennifer Salyers, the location studies project manager for VDOT, said its preferred alternative would be to rebuild a majority of the interchange to separate mainlane traffic between U.S. Route 58/Interstate 264 and I-664/I-64 through the proposed interchange, which she said would eliminate weaving movements there and improve its traffic flow.

The Bowers Hill interchange includes a confluence of Interstates 664, 64 and 264, U.S. Routes 460, 58 and 13 and Jolliff Road — VA Route 191.

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Salyers, briefing the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization on the plans April 18, said there would also be a barrier to separate traffic and movements in the interchange would be accommodated with new braided and direct connector ramps. Braided ramps help separate merging traffic where highway ramps between interstate and local lanes cross over one another.

The cost of the project would reach about $450 million, which includes preliminary engineering, right-of-way and utilities and construction. Rebuilding the entire interchange would cost an estimated $633.1 million, VDOT says.

Under VDOT’s preferred alternative, there could be as many as 11 potential residential and three commercial relocations, and it would need 8.8 acres of right-of-way versus 17.9 acres under a total interchange reconstruction. Salyers also said there would be about four times as much impact on wetlands with a total rebuild as there would be under VDOT’s preferred design.

Traffic information from 2018 show that, on average, 121,800 vehicles use I-664 between the U.S. 460 ramps and the I-264/I-64 ramps daily, VDOT says, with projected traffic totals under each of the plans reaching more than 160,000 vehicles per day by 2040.

As of 2018, 82,600 vehicles daily use U.S. Routes 460, 58 and 13 west of Bowers Hill, with a projected 105,200 vehicles to use this stretch of roadways by 2040, according to VDOT.

On I-664 north of Bowers Hill, 91,600 vehicles, on average, use that stretch of road daily, with projected totals to rise above 120,000 vehicles daily under both alternatives.

VDOT will hold a public hearing for the Bowers Hill interchange from 5 to 7 p.m. May 9 at Jolliff Middle School, 1021 Jolliff Road in Chesapeake, and the comment period on the project ends May 19. The meeting will feature a video presentation and allow the public to discuss conceptual plans with VDOT representatives. It plans to present its plans to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June for approval.