World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Interstate 64 (Virginia)


Interstate 64 (Virginia)

This article is about the section of Interstate 64 in Virginia. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 64.

Interstate 64
;">Route information
Maintained by VDOT
Existed: 1957 – present
;">Major junctions
West end: I-64 / US 60 at West Virginia state line
  I-81 near Lexington
I-81 near Staunton
I-95 in Richmond
I-295 near Richmond
I-664 in Hampton
I-264 in Norfolk
East end: I-264 / I-664 in Chesapeake
;">Highway system

In the U.S. state of Virginia, Interstate 64 runs east–west through the middle of the state from West Virginia to the Hampton Roads region, a total of 298 miles (480 km). It is notable for crossing the mouth of the harbor of Hampton Roads on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the first bridge-tunnel to incorporate man-made islands. Also noteworthy is a section through Rockfish Gap, a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which was equipped with an innovative system of airport-style runway lighting embedded into the pavement to aid motorists during periods of poor visibility due to fog or other conditions.

Route description

Entering from West Virginia, I-64 passes through Covington, to Lexington. From Lexington to Staunton I-64 overlaps Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley. From Staunton, I-64 leaves I-81 and passes through Waynesboro and crosses Afton Mountain and passes by Charlottesville to reach Richmond. Through Richmond, I-64 overlaps Interstate 95 for several miles. From Richmond, I-64 continues southeasterly past Williamsburg and through Newport News and Hampton on the Virginia Peninsula to reach the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel which it utilizes to cross the main shipping channel at the entrance to the harbor of Hampton Roads from the Chesapeake Bay. In South Hampton Roads, I-64 passes through Norfolk and a portion of Virginia Beach to end in Chesapeake at Bowers Hill, where it meets both the western terminus of Interstate 264 and the southern terminus of Interstate 664 near the northeastern corner of the Great Dismal Swamp.

Since 2006, from Exit 200 (Interstate 295) to Exit 273 (U.S. Route 60 east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel), a contraflow lane reversal system is in place to hasten an evacuation of the Hampton Roads area. Hurricane gates are installed at eastbound Interstate 64 entrance and exit ramps, and crossover roads are in place near the aforementioned exits. During a hurricane evacuation, the eastbound lanes of I-64 will be reversed into westbound lanes so hundreds of thousands of residents can evacuate.[1]


A portion of Interstate 64 between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Short Pump in Henrico County closely follows the path of the historic colonial-era Three Notch'd Road, which had been established in the Colony of Virginia by the 1730s, and was largely replaced in the 1930s by U.S. Route 250.[2]

From the time it was added to the proposed Interregional Highway System, I-64 was to use the U.S. Route 250 alignment west of Richmond.[3][4][5][6] In the late 1950s, a number of interested citizens including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., proposed that I-64 be realigned to run along U.S. Route 220, U.S. Route 460, State Route 307, and U.S. Route 360 from Clifton Forge via Cloverdale (near Roanoke), Lynchburg, and Farmville to Richmond. The state continued planning for the piece of the US 250 alignment from Richmond to Short Pump, which would be needed anyway to handle traffic.[7]

This southern route was favored by Gov. J. Lindsay Almond Jr. and most members of the State Highway Commission. The decision was on hold for three years. In 1961, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges rejected that plan and chose the present route, leaving Lynchburg as the largest city in Virginia not served by an interstate. Officially, the chosen route was considered more efficient. However, there is speculation that the decision involved "back-room" politics of the Kennedy administration.[8] The first section of I-64 to open to traffic was in November 1957 with the six-mile (10 km) section in Hampton from Mercury Boulevard (US 258) to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel,[9] which had only recently been completed as a two-lane facility built with non-interstate highway toll revenue bond funding. The second tube and four-laning of approaches to the bridge-tunnel was accomplished almost 20 years later with federal Interstate Highway funds and the tolls were removed at that time. I-64 was extended to J. Clyde Morris Boulevard (Exit 258, US 17) in 1958, to Jefferson Avenue (Exit 255, VA 143) in 1959, and to Camp Peary, Colonial Williamsburg (Exit 238, VA 143) in November, 1965.

Hampton Roads Beltway

Main article: Hampton Roads Beltway

I-64 east from a point near the Hampton Coliseum forms part of the Hampton Roads Beltway, a circumferential highway which passes through the major cities of Hampton Roads. At the terminus of I-64, Interstate 664 begins, passing through Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk before crossing the harbor via the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel to reach Newport News and Hampton, completing the loop. The beltway is signed Inner Loop and Outer Loop to help avoid confusion.

The eastern terminus of I-64 is not the road's easternmost point. After crossing Hampton Roads through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and entering Norfolk, the road makes a wide loop toward Virginia Beach and through that city's northwest side. The road then curves toward its final destination on the west side of Chesapeake. From the point where the road enters Chesapeake, I-64 "east" actually runs westward, ending at a location known as Bowers Hill near the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp where it becomes Interstate 664. Today, I-64 is no longer signed as east or west between Bowers Hill and the east junction with I-264 to limit possible confusion; instead it is signed as the inner or outer loop of the Hampton Roads Beltway. All entrance ramps between these two locations are signed with control cities that differ according to the location of the exit. For inner (westbound) traffic, Suffolk is the most common control city used, although Norfolk is used at two entrances in Chesapeake to indicate the most direct route to Norfolk (via Interstate 464). For outer (eastbound) traffic, Norfolk, Hampton, and Virginia Beach are variously used.

Interstate 64 in the Hampton Roads area is gradually being augmented with HOV-2 lanes. In the 1990s, reversible HOV-2 lanes were added between I-564 and I-264. A relatively simple design, it allows only direct exits to the aforementioned termini, slip ramps beyond them, and an additional pair of slip ramps just west (compass north) of the I-264 interchange. The reversible lanes operate westbound from around midnight to noon and eastbound from around noon to midnight. HOV restrictions are only in place during rush hour periods; at other times, any vehicle may use the lanes except during reversals at noon and midnight. Access is controlled by clock-controlled automated gates, and each ramp has multiple gates to provide a safeguard against malfunction. Beyond the reversible lanes, increasing lengths of Interstate 64 (and its spur routes) are receiving HOV-designated left lanes, subject to restrictions during rush hours. Such extensions are ongoing.

Interstate 64 has two three-digit bypasses that are shorter than the main leg for through traffic, both in the Hampton Roads area. Interstate 664, which connects the Virginia Peninsula to South Hampton Roads on the western side of Chesapeake (and to the eastern terminus of I-64), is about 15 miles (24 km) shorter than the bypassed main leg. Interstate 264, which passes through downtown Norfolk, is about a mile (1.6 km) shorter than the main leg it bypasses.

Interstate 64 passes through the historic African-American neighborhood of Jackson Ward in Richmond, Va. When the interstate was being built in the late 1950s, a cemetery was displaced, resulting in several coffins being forced into the James River. The builders of the interstate also destroyed a house on Fifth Street, which was the birthplace of legendary dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

Exit list

See also


External links

Interstate 64
Previous state:
West Virginia
Virginia Next state:
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.