HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County is on the road to some major road improvements. The Board of Supervisors gave the county’s Department of Public Works the go-ahead to apply for grant money to help pay for a highly-anticipated $250 million I-64 interchange project.
Project leaders have permission to apply for $50 million in federal grant money and they plan to apply for more in the future. The project will be one of the largest safety and traffic efforts in the community and it hits close to home — literally — for Short Pump resident Chris Ward.
“Good idea,” Ward said when asked about his initial reaction to hearing of the proposal. “Great idea.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration greenlit the proposal in June. Therefore, local leaders said they are on track to adding new ramps from to North Gayton Road and updates to the Broad Street exits.
“I think relieving traffic is going to be the biggest deal,” Ward said. “But it also probably helps safety, too, because less congestion means better safety.”
An environmental study is underway, but development will be a slow process. Officials previously told 8News that the North Gate construction alone will take at least two to three years. As long as the improvements come eventually, Ward isn’t worried about the timeline.
“I mean, just go to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel,” Ward laughed. “That’s been going on for seven years and it’s a $8 billion project. So this is nothing compared to that.”
According to Henrico County officials, between January 2017 and September 2022, there were 475 car crashes resulting in injury — and seven lost lives — in the area this project targets,
Drivers told 8News that even if the improvements just save one life, all of the construction and waiting will be worth it.
“I’ve got seven grandkids,” Ward said. “So, you know, it would probably be helpful for them. And me, too.”
This is a large-scale project, so construction is expected to take a while. The modifications and enhancement will be added in phases, but leaders hope by 2030, people will have a much safer, less-congested time driving around Short Pump.