Thursday, April 11, 2013

Study of Hampton Roads Transit extension to naval base begins

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) in Virginia has issued a notice to proceed to HDR Engineering, Inc., to begin the Naval Station Norfolk Transit Extension Study for possible high-capacity transit alignments between The Tide light rail and the Norfolk Naval Station.

The notice starts a study process that will allow HRT and the city of Norfolk to develop basic conceptual ideas about what path a high-capacity link to the Navy station would follow, what communities it would serve and what mode, rail or expanded bus service, would be best.

The potential route is intended to explore a transit connection between the region's existing high-capacity transit system, The Tide light rail and the base.

Developing a high-capacity transit line to the Navy base has long been of interest to regional leaders and the thousands of commuters who daily clog Interstates 64 and 564 on their way to the world's largest Navy base. Traffic volume on the base is among the highest of any major location in the region. An estimated at 80,000 vehicles enter and exit the base daily, according to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

The study will take about 15 months and is being paid for with money from the commonwealth and the federal government. It is the first year of a multi-year federal study process necessary if the city wants to purse federal construction dollars.

HRT will start public outreach efforts this summer to gain community thoughts, concerns and ideas on the project, the need for it and possible alignments through the city of Norfolk.

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