Open house set on final planning for regional connectors

Published 8:49 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization is looking at ways to improve future travel between the peninsula and southside as part of its Regional Connectors Study. 

Suffolk residents have the chance to provide their thoughts on the improvements during an open house set for Thursday, Aug. 3 at the VDOT Hampton Roads District Office, 7511 Burbage Dr. Additional open house events are planned for July 31 at Pearl Bailey Library, Newport News; Aug. 1 at First Baptist Church Lambert’s Point,  Norfolk; and Aug. 2 at Churchland Branch Library, Portsmouth. All open houses run from 5:30–7:30 p.m. 

The project team has finalized its proposed recommendations for crossing the harbor, which includes Interstate 664 and the Route 164 connector into Suffolk.

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These are the final in-person programs on the plans, HRTPO officials said in a news release.

During the open houses, area residents can talk with the study team, review proposed transportation recommendations and provide input. There will be a brief presentation at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. with the same information presented at all four meetings. 

All open house locations are near transit, officials noted in the release.

 HRTPO kicked off the Regional Connectors Study in June 2018 with funding from the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, according to its website. The study focuses on Hampton Roads connectivity through the lenses of congestion relief, economic vitality, resiliency, accessibility and quality of life.

The regional connectors study builds on the work examined in the Hampton Roads Crossing Study Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which includes: Route 164 widening, the I-564 connector, the 164 connector, the I-664 connector and I-664 widening, north of College Drive.

Once complete, the regional connectors study will provide a long-term vision for connectivity improvements for the region, with recommendations for segment tiering and further evaluation.

Once the study is complete, the website explains that the HRTPO board will vote on the tiered segments. Tier 1 segments will be recommended for consideration in the fiscally constrained 2050 HRTPO Long Range Transportation Plan. Tier 2 segments will be recommended for inclusion in the 2050 Regional Transportation Vision Plan. 

Because the LRTP must include projects with available funding identified, it goes on to state that not all recommendations are guaranteed inclusion in the final 2050 LRTP.

“Construction of the segments is subject to inclusion in the fiscally constrained Long Range Transportation Plan and the availability of funding,” the HRTPO website explains. “Once adopted into the LRTP, a funding/construction timetable will be established by HRTAC, in conjunction with HRTPO and VDOT.”

For more information about the study and open house details, please visit connectorstudy.org.