Fresh Details of U.S. 460 Bids

Here are the details on the proposed upgrade of U.S. 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg, from the Executive Summary of the U. S. Route 460 Communications Committee. The project, to refresh your memory, would be a public-private partnership. Some of this information had been published in newspaper accounts, but not all.
The justification for the investment of considerable state funds and imposition of a toll is the need (a) to accommodate growing truck traffic from the ports in Hampton Roads and (b) to provide an alternative hurricane evacuation route. Detailed proposals will be due in Spring of 2008 and negotiation and execution of an interim or comprehensive agreement will occur in Fall of 2008.

Cintra 460
Concession period: 50 years
Est. Completion: Jan. 2014
Est. DB price: $1,051 million (2006)
Public funding: $174.5 million (base case)
Other funding: TIFIA loan $450 million
Toll rate: $0.07 to 0.24/mile
Equity contribution: Cintra will “provide equity in substantial amounts”

Concession period: 60 years
Est. Completion: Dec. 2013
Est. DB price: $1,550 million (2006)
Public funding: state/federal – $1,056 million
Other funding: Private activity bonds – $477 million, TIFIA – $144 million
Toll rate: $0.14/mile
Equity contribution: $98 million

Concession period: 50 years
Est. Completion: June 2014
Est. DB price: $1,535 million (2006)
Public funding:
Other funding: Private activity bonds – $1,849 million, TIFIA – $219 million
Toll rate: $0.24/mile
Equity contribution: $363 million for base case

What I’m still waiting to see is a detailed cost-benefit analysis of this project, which would create a brand, spanking new divided highway in place of the existing four-lane road with peak speed limits of 55 mph and numerous stoplights. What are the projected traffic volumes? What will be the impact on human settlement patterns along the corridor? I’m also wondering what alternatives were considered for upgrading the existing four-lane road.

(Photo cutline: U.S. 460 in Wakefield. Photo credit:

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  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think the most obvious question about this project is why it is a completely separate parallel road to I-64 – as opposed to adding more lanes to I-64.

    It would be like taking I-95 or I-81 and instead of adding new lanes.. proposing a completely separate parallel road that is tolled and “competes” with the “free” road.

    I don’t see how this can work unless the theory is that the toll road will attract disgruntled drivers from a mucked-up I-64 when it gets congested…

    I-64 has a fair number of interchanges.. I wonder if the idea is to have a road that does not have as many interchanges.. more like the New Jersey Turnpike/Garden State Parkway model.

    That certainly would preserve the road for transportation and limit it being co-opted for sprawl-type commuting so perhaps it’s a good thing.

  2. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    It’s a port road designed for moving more trucks to I-95. Except the port doesn’t pay for it, the locals do as part of the HRTA debacle. Something else to consider is a proposal some years ago to build a new BIG HR airport along the road to replace ORF. The project was shelved, but just like light rail, it can be quickly dusted off. And the Navy is looking at property out there for a 30,000 acre ‘practice’ landing field to take the heat off Oceana. What may be limited interchanges now can be easily modified in the future.

    Actually I do like the idea of this road so long as it goes all the way to I-95. At least it makes some sense as part of a dual replacement for the totally idiotic US58. The other half will run from Ches. to Raleigh.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I guess I would have thought that port stuff would be moved by rail to multi-modal facilities ….

    but I admit ignorance on that…

    If the road is a toll road.. I’m wondering if this is a stealth attempt to have TWO corridors .. one for trucks and one for cars…

    because if I-64 ends up like I-81.. chock a block with 18-wheelers on two lanes and the trucks are not restricted to the right lane.. then it’s going to hurt tourism …

    right now.. we take US 460 to Nags Head and back because of the congestion and trucks… on I-64.

    460… with it’s many towns and traffic signals is almost as fast as I-64 when it is congested because it just takes one car or one truck to lock up the passing lanes… and then you’ve got the wild wild west with folks passing on the right and forcing their way back into the left lane… totally ugly..

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    I don’t understand.

    Two of thes bids are one third higher than the other. But they propose to provide significant capital investment.

    I suppose I could provide some investment, too, if my bid was one third too high.

    But when you have two at one price and one much lower, the lower one lacks credibility.

    For the Itinere and VCP bids the public funding listed is higher than the price. How does that work?

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I saw that also… but there is a lot not disclosed here.

    I think the “DB” is design-build… which I “think” implies that r/w costs are a separate item….

    if you assume that about 100 miles are involved… for roughly a billion or 1.5 – the costs come up to 10 to 20 million per mile… and that’s not a reasonable number for a turn-key interstate road. It will only cover the straight rural lanes.. not other costs.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    That’s good. I didn’t figure it out.

    There is a lot not disclosed.

    If your figures are right, how do we figure we can build bus rapid trnsit for $3 million a mile?


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