Southeastern Virginia Regional Transportation Study

The following sections come directly from the document listed above, detailing the early proposals for the highway and freeway system in the southern half of the Hampton Roads area in Virginia.  This study was prepared in the early 1960s by Wilbur Smith and Associates, a long-standing construction and transportation consulting firm, for what was then the Southeastern Virginia Regional Planning Commission

Recommended Highway Transportation Plan

The recommended plan includes two major types of facilities, freeways and arterial routes, which together provide a complete and fully integrated street and highway network.  the plan has been designed so that future improvements or modifications of existing facilities will ensure optimum utilization and provide maximum roadway capacity.

The anticipated 1980 traffic demands indicate that additional improvements in traffic operations and major street widenings cannot provide the capacity or efficiency required.  Construction required to provide the number of lanes necessary on existing locations would be considerably more disruptive than construction of recommended additional freeways and arterial routes.  In addition, widening of existing routes would not provide the high quality service of a functional, well-oriented freeway network.

Although the automobile dominates personal travel and is expected to be the travel mode for the majority of trips in 1980, public transportation will remain an essential component of the total transportation system.

The recommended highway transportation plan includes 810 miles of major facilities.  Freeways comprise 97.2 miles or 12 percent of the total, and the remaining 88 percent consist of arterial facilities.

Of the freeways, 46.8 miles are Interstate facilities and 11.1 miles are included in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Toll Road.  The new freeways comprise 39.3 miles or about 5 percent of the total thoroughfare system mileage within the regional area.

  Total Miles Percent
Interstate 46.8 5.8
Norfolk-Virginia Beach Toll Road 11.1 1.3
New Freeways 39.3 4.9
Subtotal 97.2 12.0
City of Chesapeake 197.4 24.4
City of Norfolk 129.4 16.0
City of Portsmouth 50.3 6.2
City of Suffolk 5.6 0.7
City of Virginia Beach 176.4 21.8
County of Nansemond 153.4 18.9
Subtotal 712.5 88.0
TOTAL 809.7 100.0


In the large, complex, and densely populated Southeastern Virginia Regional Area, a properly timed and well planned system of freeways must be provided to accommodate increasing demands associated with continued urban expansion.  Freeways, which help shape the extent and direction of future urban growth, will accelerate industrial, commercial, and residential development and provide a framework for urban renewal and downtown planning.

A functional system of circumferential and distributor routes, along with the express radial facilities, has been developed.  Including Interstate routes, the basic freeway system includes:

        - An outer circumferential freeway - Interstate Route 64.

        -The Metropolitan Loop - serving the heavily developed central core within the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

        - Three centrally-oriented Interstate radial routes - Interstate Route 264 (Norfolk), Interstate Route 264 (Chesapeake and Portsmouth), and Interstate Route 464 (Chesapeake and Norfolk).

        - A Naval Base access freeway - Interstate Route 564.

        - The Norfolk-Virginia Beach Toll Road - a high-capacity toll facility connecting Interstate Routes 64 and 264 with Virginia Beach Borough in the City of Virginia Beach.

        - The Waterfront Drive Freeway in Norfolk - linking Interstate Route 264 with the proposed Metropolitan Loop in the vicinity of the Midtown Tunnel.

        - The Western Freeway - serving the cities of Chesapeake and Portsmouth, and Nansemond County.

        - The Tidewater Freeway - serving the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk, and Nansemond County.

        - The Chesapeak Bay Freeway - linking the northwest area of Virginia Beach in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel with Interstate Route 64 in Norfolk.



The arterial facilities, developed into a functional route network with freeways, comprise the other principal segments considered basic to the total transportation plan.  Extensive arterial route development has been recommended within each of the five municipalities and Nansemond County.  These facilities, which are an integral part of the overall transportation plan, connect central cities with all sections of the region.

Developed primarily for traffic service, arterial routes also have certain direct land-service functions.  They transport heavy traffic volumes to and from the freeways and between principal areas of the neighborhoods not directly served by freeways.  In the central cities and other heavily developed portions of the urbanized areas, arterials function as conventional downtown streets and supplement the controlled-access facilities.



The traffic service evaluations reveal a total of 9,420,000 vehicle-miles of travel (VMT) can be expected daily on the recommended highway transportation system by 1980.  Freeways are expected to accommodate approximately 3,833,000  vehicle-miles or about 41 percent of all daily travel.  The arterial network, which comprises 88 percent of the mileage within the total system, is expected to accommodate over 5,587,000 vehicle-miles or 59 percent of the total daily travel.

The high-capacity freeways, while carrying about 41 percent of daily travel, represent only 12 percent of the total route plan mileage.  On the average, each mile of freeway will transport about 39,500 vehicles per day.  Average speeds of 53 miles per hour and 34 miles per hour are expected on the proposed freeways and arterial facilities, respectively.


Cost Summary

Improvements to the facilities in the recommended plan include approximately 40 miles of new freeways, in addition to the programmed Interstate facilities and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Toll Road.  In addition, a total of 350 miles of new or improved arterial facilities are recommended.

Proposed improvements have been related to anticipated average daily traffic volumes to determine design requirements.  In selecting the routes to be improved and the type of design, appraisals were made to achieve the maximum utility from existing facilities and minimize costs.  The design criteria conforms to modern design policies established by highway officials throughout the nation.  To ensure feasibility of proposed improvements, functional roadway plans have been prepared for the major facilities recommended for implementation.

The estimated cost for developing the recommended highway improvements is $366,067,000 (2002 $2,844,341,000).  Of this amount, $174,685,000 (2002 $1,357,303,000), or about 48 percent, will be required for new freeways, and $191,382,000 (2002 $1,487,038,000) or 52 percent will be necessary for arterial route construction and improvements.

A summary of estimated costs for freeways and arterial routes in the Cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Nansemond County are outlined in the following table:

City of Chesapeake $48,667,000     27.0
City of Norfolk $83,257,000     28.3
City of Portsmouth $31,282,000     12.4
City of Suffolk 0     0.2
City of Virginia Beach $2,226,000     18.8
County of Nansemond $9,253,000     13,3
TOTAL $174,685,000     100.0
Percent of Total 47.7 52.3 100.0  


(EDITOR'S NOTE:  - I have listed rough cost estimate equivalents in November 2002 dollars in this section for comparison purposes only.  Inflation for construction was estimated by using the Construction Cost Index listed in the Engineering News-Record for December, 2002, extrapolating to a 1965 "base year", and adding 100 points to account for right-of-way cost increases and stiffer environmental, relocation, and other mitigation costs.  This inflation increase was estimated to be 777% for this time period.)

Comments on these calculations are welcomed.  Future updates/pages will incorporate the impact accidents have on the system, based on HCM methodology, as well as how traffic volume increases will increase lane requirements.

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Last Updated on 10/19/02 by Froggie...