Many thanks to Larry Tice, board member of the Suburban Acres Civic League, for providing this article.
A public meeting to solicit comments regarding the planned I-564 Intermodal Connector was held Tuesday evening Dec. 11th at Sewells Point Elementary School on Hampton Boulevard. The informal, informational session, held from 5 to 8 pm, was structured so visitors could move about among displays and maps, and ask questions of meeting representatives.
Representatives of VDOT, the Navy, City of Norfolk and Federal Highway Administration were available to answer questions.
Soliciting public input is a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act in order to transfer land from the U.S. Navy to VDOT for the road. The Navy is preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment.
The planned four-lane divided connector, the first phase of the hoped for “Patriot’s Crossing”, or third crossing to the Peninsula, would extend from the existing Route I-564 on the east at the current International Terminal Boulevard ramp to Naval Station Norfolk’s Virginia Avenue on the west. Going West-bound motorists would travel on a new road running parallel to I-564 between the interstate branch and Chambers Field; the new road would cross I-564 via a flyover just before the runway overpass and head West, crossing Hampton Boulevard at the site of the current Naval Station Gate 6. The western terminus of the connector would branch into a new, relocated Naval Station Gate 6, Norfolk International Terminals, and existing Naval Station Norfolk truck inspection station. Eventually travelers could continue on to the Patriot’s Crossing.
The site where the connector crosses Hampton Boulevard is close to current construction on the Boulevard that will carry vehicle traffic underneath relocated rail road tracks. The site plan also notes future high occupancy vehicle lanes along the connector, and new rail road tracks.
The proposed road runs across the southern portion of the Navy’s Fleet Recreation Park, which was home to the Fleet Park Little League for decades until the end of the 2011 season. The little league was evicted based on the Naval Station’s 2009 Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) study, which concluded the fields were in a designated “clear zone”, or likely crash zone near the approach to the Chambers Field Runway. The connector’s proposed path bisects the site, running over the former T-ball fields.
When asked if the proximity to the clear zone made the proposed route dangerous, meeting representatives said the proposed route was located “just outside of” the clear zone.
The project is planned so that an Air Terminal Interchange could be added in the future for additional access onto the Naval Station.
The Federal Highway Administration is still taking comments on the project through January 11th. Comments and questions can be sent to Mr. Jack Van Dop, FHWA-EFLHD, 21400 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling, VA 20166, (703)404-6282, or by email to Jack.VanDop@dot.gov.
Planners hope to complete environmental assessment documents by Spring of 2013 and award a design-build contract by Summer 2013. The project is targeted for completion by September 2015.
A preliminary map of the work is here (PDF).
Special to WardsCornerNow.com from The Suburban,
Newsletter of the Suburban Acres Civic League.
By Larry Tice