VDOT officials are studying the idea of expanding the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to four lanes.The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization originally pitched the idea in November 2015. VDOT wants to keep the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) within the current right of way for Interstate 64. The idea is to add one lane each way over land, but add two lanes in each direction once the roadway goes over and then under the water -- a "3-4-3 configuration." The "3-4-3 configuration" plan refers to the number of lanes approaching the tunnel on land (3), the number of lanes on the bridges or within the tunnel (4), and the number of lanes on land on the other side (3). It is believed that such a change would increase hourly capacity from 4,700 to 6,300 cars.
Staying within the right of way on land is also vital since VDOT does not want the road to get any closer to the Emancipation Oak on Hampton University’s campus. The site is a lasting symbol of the university’s rich heritage and perseverance and is also the location of the first public reading in the South of the Emancipation Proclamation. But Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne says it’s far too early to tell if it will work. [caption id="attachment_3281" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne[/caption]
To have weaving and merging either over water or under water in the tunnel … I’m skeptical,” he said. “We’re looking at options, but the idea is definitely not official policy. There’s a lot more (study) to go."The transition from three to four lanes and back again into the tight space of the HRBT crossing will be difficult. When VDOT asks for proposals from contractors, it hopes to see a wide range of creative engineering answers. Currently, the estimated cost of the project is around $3.8 billion and it's planned for spring 2018.