Virginia Beach Transit Extension

Town Center, Virginia-Beach

The preliminary engineering for the Virginia Beach Transit Extension project has been completed on time and on budget.

The project calls for an extension of The Tide light rail from Newtown Road to Virginia Beach Town Center. This 3.5-mile extension will include new stations at Witchduck Road, Kellam Road and Constitution Drive. There will be a new eastbound platform at Newtown Road where today there is one, a bus transfer facility at Constitution Drive Station and a park-and-ride lot with 300 spaces. Transit buses will provide support to the new line at this location.

The project calls for three new light rail vehicles that will allow HRT to keep its present schedule. Three new bridges will be built over Witchduck Road, Independence Boulevard and Market Drive to allow vehicular traffic to proceed underneath without interruption. There will be nine at-grade crossings and six signalized intersections elsewhere along the alignment. Major utility relocations include power, water and sewer lines.

The preliminary engineering involved significant collaboration among many stakeholders including the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the State Safety Oversight Agency, the cities of Norfolk and Virginian Beach, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Dominion Virginia Power, Virginia Natural Gas, Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Cox Communications and Verizon Communications, among others.

Coordination also was necessary with other major projects in the area including the planned Housing Resource Center at Witchduck Road, the I64/I264 ramp project and Witchduck Road Phase II.

The major cost categories are the Design-Builder Light Rail Estimate, utility relocations, completing the Right of Way, the purchase of rail and other support vehicles, and professional services required to manage the project. The following chart brakes them down by projected cost.

Project Cost Estimate Based on PE in 2017 Dollars

Category Estimated Cost (Millions)
Design-Builder Light Rail Estimate $157.6
Major Utility Relocations $12.0
Right of Way $24.8
Rail & Support Vehicles $21.0
Professional Services $27.7
Estimated Total Project Cost $243.1

For additional information on the cost categories, please see the attached presentation [14MB].

Next Steps

  • Voters in Virginia Beach will consider a non-binding referendum on Nov. 8 asking whether local funds should be used for the project.
  • HRT will provide bridging documents to Virginia Beach to plan for construction.
  • Operation and Maintenance estimates Virginia Beach Request for Proposals and Design Build Process. Virginia Beach is expected to publish a request for proposals to pre-qualified design build teams in the winter of 2016.
  • HRT will act as a partner and provide technical oversight.

What is Design Build?

Design-build means the owner (Virginia Beach) manages from a single point of responsibility. The designer and contractor are on the same team and provide a unified approach to project development. Traditional projects often have separate contracts for designers and contractors where owners become middlemen between the two groups. The city will manage this effort to build the extension. HRT would manage revenue operations once the work is complete.

The proposed Town Center extension will connect the downtown areas of two of Hampton Roads’ largest cities with a reliable mode of travel. It will increase connectivity and mobility options while also supporting Virginia Beach’s expectation that most new economic growth will arise along the city’s Strategic Growth Areas.