Richmond Interstates and Expressways

From 1946 onward, there was much local discussion and debate about building a modern system of urban and metropolitan freeways and bridges for the Richmond, Virginia metropolitan area. This article traces the history of the development of the system, mostly focusing on the City of Richmond, but also including regional highways.

The table of contents below has internal links on this page to sections of this article. You can mouse click the link to go to that section, and hit the "Back" key on your browser to return to the table of contents.

Richmond Metropolitan Area Expressway and Highway Planning
Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike
Location of Interstate 64
Early Expressway Studies
Engineering Studies for RMA Expressways
City Expressway System Final Planning
City Expressway System Construction Starts
Downtown Expressway Clears Legal Hurdles
Construction of Downtown Expressway
Powhite Parkway
RMA Tolls and Traffic
1968 Major Thoroughfare Plan
Richmond Beltway
Post-Implementation Review of RMA Expressways
Sources

Richmond Metropolitan Area Expressway and Highway Planning

The official beginning of the planning for limited access highways in the Richmond metropolitan area was the engineering report Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia which evaluated various corridors for new highways, and this report was completed and published in 1946. The regional planners from then until the 1970s and later typically used the word 'expressway' to describe these highways. The usage of 'expressway' in their reports, in the local newspaper articles reporting on the system's progress, and in my article here, means a divided highway with 4 or more lanes, with full control of access, and full grade separation and access only at interchanges. The proper technical term that is used by engineers and other transportation professionals is the term "freeway", whose root was derived from meaning "freedom from at-grade crossings and freedom from adjacent property driveway access"; it doesn't derive from whether or not tolls are charged on the highway. So a tollroad like the Downtown Expressway is correctly identified as a 'freeway'. Since 'expressway' is used locally and in the historical media references in most instances, I most commonly will refer to these highways as 'expressways' in this article.

This was a prominent local issue from the end of World War II onward as the post-war boom in the economy and in traffic led to much discussion about building a modern system of new highways for the Richmond metropolitan area, to adequately handle the high and increasing traffic demands. The city and metropolitan area sits astride the US-1 and US-301 highways, the main north-south interstate highways for the Eastern Seaboard prior to the building of Interstate Route I-95. The city and metropolitan area is also bisected by the James River, a shallow rocky river over 1/2-mile wide west of the downtown, becoming a deep-water ship-capable river from the downtown eastward. The Shockoe Valley forms a deep valley just east of the downtown. The various transportation barriers and the heavy city and regional traffic combined with the need to handle heavy north-south interstate traffic, by 1945 brought about the need for the development of a modern system of expressways, bridges and thoroughfares.

The Richmond and Petersburg areas became industrial and manufacturing centers in the early years of the United States, and in the antebellum period (pre-Civil War period) this expanded and the two cities became major transportation hubs when major railroads (Chesapeake and Ohio, Norfolk and Western, and Atlantic Coast Line) were built through the area. Richmond is also the state capital and is in the central region of the state, so in addition to its own industry, commercial activities, tourism, and state government offices, it is a natural hub for transportation, which includes a major commercial jet airport, Richmond International Airport (RIC), which is in Henrico County east of Richmond; and a major port, the Richmond Marine Terminal, which is on the James River in South Richmond. The Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area has just reached one million population, in the 2000 census.

I-95 was completed north-south through the Richmond area in July 1958 as the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (RPT). I-64 was completed east-west through the Richmond area in 1968. I-95 parallels US-1/US-301, and I-64 parallels US-60 east of the downtown, and I-64 parallels US-250 northwest of the downtown. I-64 and I-95 overlap and share the same route for 4 miles in north Richmond.

The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was established by the U.S. Congress with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, with 41,000 miles of routes to be built nationwide, and 1,500 miles of mostly metropolitan sections was added to the system in 1968. I-95, I-64 and I-295 were among those approved in the 1956 Interstate system. For history of the Interstate Highway System, see Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating The Interstate System by Richard F. Weingroff (U.S. Department of Transportation historian), 1996.

I-95 has 6 lanes throughout the Richmond area; it was built with 6 lanes from the Maury Street interchange northward, and with 4 lanes southward of there; and the 22-mile-long section from Maury Street to the I-85 interchange in Petersburg was widened to 6 lanes from 1974 to 1978.

Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike

The Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike Authority was established in 1955 to build the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike. The Authority was a small state agency created by the General Assembly, to administer (design, finance, acquire right-of-way, construct, operate, collect tolls, and maintain) the Turnpike. The Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (RPT) cost $76.7 million (funded with proceeds from toll revenue bonds sold by the Commonwealth of Virginia) to build, and it ran for 34.7 miles from US-1 in Dinwiddie County to US-301 in Henrico County (from today's I-85 Exit 63 to I-95 Exit 82), it opened in its entirety on July 1, 1958; and soon after opening, the RPT was designated with the I-85 and I-95 designations, even though no federal aid was used to build the RPT, and it became part of the Interstate system.

The original bond issue was retired in January 1975, but another $103 million of toll revenue bonds was issued in December 1973 to pay for the 22 miles of 6-lane widening from Maury Street in South Richmond to the I-95/I-85 interchange in Petersburg, plus other improvements to the Turnpike, including a new ramp at the Broad Street interchange in downtown Richmond, a complete reconstruction of the VA-150 Chippenham Parkway interchange, improvements to the VA-10 interchange, and a complete reconstruction of the Washington Street interchange and I-95/I-85 interchange in Petersburg, and reconstruction of the I-95 highway mainline in Petersburg to lessen several curves. This new interchange complex between I-95 and Washington Street, Wythe Street and I-85 in Petersburg, was called the "Little Mixing Bowl" by the highway designers and planners.

The 1973 General Assembly passed legislation to dissolve the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike Authority and transfers its duties, powers and obligations to the Virginia State Highway Commission (the predecessor of the current Commonwealth Transportation Board), so the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation (today's VDOT) took over administration of the RPT in 1973. Source: "Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike Suffers Widening Pains", Virginia Road Builder magazine, October 1976.

My article Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (I-95/I-85) and I-295 has more history about the Turnpike and the I-295 bypass.

Local automobile commuters could buy booklets of toll tickets that cost about one cent per mile of travel, in other words, 32 cents to travel the whole 34.7-mile-long turnpike, or 8 cents per mainline toll plaza. Especially in the later years, that was seen as rather inexpensive as the general rate of consumer price inflation increased. The full (non-commuter) rate was 25 cents per mainline toll plaza, increased to 50 cents in March 1989.

The $103 million of 1973-issued toll revenue bonds used to pay for the 6-lane widening projects were paid off and retired in 1985. The last 7 years (1985-1992) of toll revenue (mostly Northerner and Floridian toll revenue since the locals could buy heavily discounted commuter tickets) was used to build 5 local road projects. These projects were 6.5 miles of the VA-288 beltway between VA-10 and US-1/US-301 in Chesterfield County, 3.5 miles of 2-lane parallel roadway (dualization) for the VA-144 Temple Avenue Extension from Conduit Road in the City of Colonial Heights to VA-36 near the City of Hopewell, 0.6-mile of the mostly 4-lane Leigh Street Extension from near the Department of Motor Vehicles central office to VA-161 Boulevard in the City of Richmond, 0.7-mile of 4-lane widening and reconstruction of Belt Boulevard in the City of Richmond between VA-10 and Terminal Avenue, and the 4.4-mile-long 4-lane limited access VA-150 Parham-Chippenham Connector between 1/2 mile south of Forest Hill Avenue in the City of Richmond and 1/2 mile north of River Road in Henrico County. Legislation of the General Assembly in 1983 (Senate Bill 304) provided for this toll extension and usage of the toll revenues for these local road projects. These five local road projects were all completed by 1991. Due to a later shortfall of funding to complete the projects, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) authorized the March 1989 toll increase to cover the shortfall.

The Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike's I-85 portion become toll-free in 1986, when Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds were used to finance most of the project for the new interchange between Squirrel Level Road and I-85 (completed in 1987) in the City of Petersburg; and the mainline Dinwiddie County Toll Plaza near US-1 west of Petersburg was removed then. The 1989 CTB toll increase decision also provided for the removal of the I-95 Washington Street toll plaza in Petersburg, thereby making toll-free the I-95 portion of the Turnpike south of the Ivey Avenue interchange (completed in 1987, built to help support the Southpark Mall that was built then) in the City of Colonial Heights; this interchange is less than a mile south of the VA-144 Temple Avenue interchange. Actually Ivey Avenue was not connected to the interchange, and the connecting road into the mall was later named Southpark Boulevard. The 1989 CTB toll increase decision also provided for the removal of the ramp toll plazas in the City of Richmond at the I-95/I-64/I-195 Bryan Park interchange and at VA-161 Boulevard, thereby making toll-free the I-95 portion of the Turnpike north of Boulevard.

So the mainline Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike toll plazas were ---

Dinwiddie County Toll Plaza, on I-85, 1/2 mile east of US-1

Washington Street Toll Plaza, actually a mainline exit/entrance toll plaza for I-95 where it branched off of the RPT, located between the I-85/I-95 junction and US-301 Crater Road in the City of Petersburg

Colonial Heights Toll Plaza, which was on I-95 in the City of Colonial Heights in the southern part of the VA-144 Temple Avenue interchange

Falling Creek Toll Plaza, which was on I-95 in the southern part of the VA-150 interchange in Chesterfield County

Belvidere Toll Plaza, which was on I-95 about 1/2 mile north of US-1/US-301 Chamberlayne Avenue in the City of Richmond

The I-95 Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike became toll-free on July 1, 1992, and the 3 mainline toll plazas (each 10-12 lanes wide) were demolished, underground foundations removed, unneeded pavement removed, and approach pavement removed and replaced. VDOT's projects cost a total of $2.5 million and did everything necessary to completely convert each toll plaza section to a full freeway design. A collection of ramp toll plazas were removed too. The Turnpike Authority administration building at the VA-10 interchange near Chester remained in place, but it was unoccupied after the toll removal until it was completely renovated in 1994 to be used as a major VDOT training center, which is what it is currently used for in 2001.

Location of Interstate 64

There was a dispute about the location of I-64 between the cities Richmond and Clifton Forge, and this also affected its location through the City of Richmond. The 1963 study Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing mentions in its "General" section in the front part of the document, that this study began in the spring of 1959, but was suspended that summer because of the fact that the location of I-64 through Richmond had not been established by the State Highway Department and the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads; the study was reactivated in January 1963 after the location of I-64 had been determined. There was an alternatives analysis (conducted by the Virginia Department of Highways) between a northern route (the one chosen), and a southern route which would have passed through the Lynchburg and Roanoke areas. The southern route's Richmond alternatives would have located I-64 south of the downtown and through south Richmond, which is a much different routing than that of the northern route that was chosen; so this decision was essential before the location studies could begin on the Richmond local expressway system's Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing and the Downtown Route.

The decision basically came down to the lobbying efforts of Charlottesville, Waynesboro and Staunton being better than the lobbying efforts of the southerly alignment towns (basically just Lynchburg). As far as total population service, both corridors were roughly equal. In the overall scheme of things, the two alignments were about equal in benefits. The original national Interstate system was intended to provide direct service to at least 90% of all cities of 50,000 population or more. Lynchburg was one of the ones which didn't make it. It had/has just over 50,000.

Cities along the proposed I-64 northern route wanted the Interstate to go there, and cities along the proposed I-64 southern route wanted the Interstate to go there. The proposed southern route called for the Interstate to follow from Richmond, near and parallel to US-360 and US-460 via Lynchburg to Roanoke, and near and parallel to US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then west following near and parallel to US-60 into West Virginia. The northern route paralleled US-250 from Richmond to Staunton and then paralleled US-11 from Staunton to Lexington, then paralleled US-60 from Lexington to Clifton Forge and the West Virginia line. The initial 1957 recommendation by a state-retained engineering consultant was for the northern route, and in 1959 the state actually did change the location to the southern route, but in 1961 the federal government overturned that in favor of the northern route. This controversy began in 1957 and was not fully resolved until 1963. The northern route was chosen in 1961, and a smaller controversy over routing the highway either just north of Charlottesville of just south of Charlottesville, was not resolved until 1963. See: Charlottesville won, and Lynchburg lost / Routing of I-64 was major tussle, by Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Century Section, June 13, 1999. Here is a map from a 1961 VDH I-64 Location Study, from Non-Indiana Highway Materials of Northwest Indiana Highways.

Early Expressway Studies

The following engineering report is the first public study about expressway planning in the Richmond area. Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, engineering report prepared for the Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Virginia, by consulting engineers R. Stuart Royer and Consoer, Townsend and Associates, Richmond, Virginia, 1946.

The following two engineering reports were the preliminary engineering reports that were the foundation for the Richmond city expressway system built to supplement the mainline Interstate Highway routes 95 and 64 which pass through the city. Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing, engineering report prepared for City of Richmond, Virginia, by consulting engineers Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, June 1963. Richmond Expressway System, engineering report prepared for Committee on Trafficways, Richmond, Virginia, by consulting engineers Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, October 1966.

Expressway planning for the Richmond area goes back to 1946, when the major engineering study was produced, Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.

This map came from Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, and it shows a regional view of the proposed expressway system in the 1946 report. The map showed the expressway going south to Petersburg and to the southern and western edge of the city, but I didn't show that here. The heavy orange colored lines are the proposed expressways. I rotated the map 90 degrees so that north would be upward rather than leftward.

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The concept for the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike started here, and the final highway location was generally similar to this report. A Belvidere Street Expressway was proposed along with a parallel Robert E. Lee Bridge span (US-1/US-301 over the James River), and a downtown expressway loop was planned. Other regional expressways were shown, and the final alignments of them were considerably different when they were ultimately built.

This map came from Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, and it shows a Richmond city view of the proposed expressway system in the 1946 report. The heavy black lines are the proposed expressways. I rotated the map 90 degrees so that north would be upward rather than leftward.

 

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Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing has a copy of the map Proposed Major Street and Highway Plan which was approved by the city council in April 1959. It shows the completed RPT, but the I-64 location was shown tentatively as passing south of the downtown, and parallel to US-250 northwest of the downtown. A Western Expressway was shown following the R.F.& P. R.R. [Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad] Belt Line Railroad, and the preliminary design of the Bryan Park Interchange (today's interchange complex of I-95, I-64, I-195) was in place.

The 1963 study Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing laid the foundation for today's I-195 Beltline Expressway, Downtown Expressway, and Powhite Parkway. The Western Expressway followed the corridor of the Belt Line Railroad and Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, from Acca Yards near today's Bryan Park Interchange (I-64/I-95/I-195), to US-60 Midlothian Turnpike in South Richmond. A Downtown Route was proposed from the Western Expressway to just east of Belvidere Street (US-1/US-301) where it would have ended in multiple local street connections; 3 different routes were studied, one along Idlewood Avenue, one passing well south of the urbanized area but north of the James River, and one that passed along the south shore of the James River with eastern termination at the then-proposed 9th Street Bridge (today's Manchester Bridge). The Downtown Route alternatives north of the river would not have penetrated the central business district; that was considered too expensive, and the highway's eastern terminus would have been branches into several local streets just east of US-1/US-301 Belvidere Street. The Bryan Park Interchange complex design had its genesis here; and it opened in 2 phases, the I-95/I-64 semi-directional interchange opened in 1968, and the I-195 interchange was added and opened in 1975. The study showed detailed traffic projections for the various expressway alternatives, and detailed construction cost estimates projections for the various expressway alternatives.

Engineering Studies for RMA Expressways

The 1966 study Richmond Expressway System was the preliminary design report for the Richmond expressway system. It showed detailed plan and profile views of the proposed highways, with detailed cost estimates. The Beltline Expressway and Powhite Parkway designs were almost identical to the final routes and interchanges that were built. The Beltline Expressway design was shown with a mainline toll collection plaza a couple blocks south of Idlewood Avenue. The Downtown Expressway was essentially the Idlewood Avenue alternative of the 1963 study's Downtown Route, extended through the south edge of the central business district to I-95. Other than a 2-block shift of about a mile of the Downtown Expressway just east of VA-161 Boulevard, the design shown was very similar to the final route built.

Actually the 1966 study Richmond Expressway System showed a fourth planned toll highway, the Riverside Parkway. It would have run 3.1 miles along the south bank of the James River from the Powhite Parkway to VA-147 just south of the Huguenot Bridge. The study had artist's renderings of this and the other highways. The Riverside Parkway would have been very scenic, on an embankment over 20 feet high. However, cost overruns on the rest of the toll highway system led to postponement of the Riverside Parkway, and it was not again in the program after 1971. Between the heavy flooding of the James River by Hurricane Camille in 1969 and by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, plus development of new large houses along the route, plus the fact that major parkland and wetlands would have been traversed, this highway was never built; and certainly in light of later environmental awareness, this highway in my opinion was properly cancelled. Actually plans were in the works to ultimately extend the Riverside Parkway 5.7 miles further west, along the shore of the river, to the proposed VA-288 beltway. With scenic overlooks, this would have been a beautiful parkway (no trucks allowed), but would have totally changed the land use patterns along the river from its largely undeveloped open wooded land pattern. The James River west of downtown Richmond is a shallow rocky river about 1/2-mile wide. Current and future thinking about such a scenic river would be to not build a highway along it, and I agree.

The Richmond Expressway System report prepared by consulting engineers Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff (HNTB) in 1966, was the engineering report on the location and preliminary design and estimated cost of the Richmond expressway system, and it also projected annual costs of maintenance and operation. To accomplish the location and cost study, available topographic maps of the entire expressway system corridors were obtained and upgraded, extensive field reconnaissance was conducted, preliminary borings and subsurface investigations were performed, and pertinent utility information was compiled for the entire system. Soils and foundation conditions were analyzed to determine suitable types of roadway, structure and wall construction. A preliminary drainage plan was prepared, and right-of-way acquisition needs were determined.

This location map came from the 1966 study Richmond Expressway System which was the preliminary design report for the Richmond expressway system. The four planned highways are shown.

 

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The firm of Wilber Smith and Associates was retained to estimate the anticipated traffic volumes and revenues suitable for revenue bond financing of the system. During development of the Richmond Expressway System, the engineering, traffic and financial studies were presented periodically to the Committee on Trafficways for their review and approval. The system proposed in Richmond Expressway System received complete endorsement from the Committee.

This artist's rendering on an aerial photograph came from the 1966 study Richmond Expressway System, showing the proposed Downtown Expressway, with an oblique rendering looking from the Fan District eastward toward the downtown.

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This map came from the study Richmond Regional Area Transportation Study, showing the Recommended 1980 Thoroughfare Plan for the Richmond Regional Area.

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The Laburnum Avenue Extension was shown as a 4-lane extension of Chippenham Parkway, from I-95, across the James River to Laburnum Avenue and VA-5 near Varina in Henrico County; this general alignment is being used for the Route 895 Connector that began construction in October 1998. The report proposed a high-level bascule span drawbridge over the James River, with 50 feet of vertical navigational clearance when closed. When the I-95 Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike was widened 1974-1978, the 3-way trumpet interchange between I-95 and VA-150 Chippenham Parkway was reconstructed into a semi-directional interchange, and the design included provision for a future second phase to extend VA-150 eastward over I-95 and over the river, with design provision for 4 future ramps to complete the full 4-way freeway-to-freeway interchange. The Route 895 bridge presently under construction will be a fixed high level bridge with 145 feet of vertical navigational clearance.

A 6-lane expressway called the Southern Beltway was shown in this thoroughfare plan. This is the only report where I've ever seen this proposed highway; I don't think the concept ever took hold as a continuing regional desire. Essentially, it would have been an extension of the Riverside Parkway from the Riverside Parkway/Powhite Parkway interchange, 12.2 miles long, following just west of the Belt Line Railroad corridor in south Richmond, running on a rough radius from the downtown just over half the radius of today's Chippenham Parkway/Laburnum Avenue corridor, crossing I-95 and the James River just north of the Richmond Marine Terminal (formerly Richmond Deepwater Terminal), and ending with an interchange with I-64 west of the Laburnum Avenue/I-64 interchange east of Richmond. The Southern Beltway would have had 10 interchanges.

The VA-150 Parham-Chippenham Connector was not included in the 1969 report. This was completed in 1990 as the 4-lane limited access VA-150 Chippenham Parkway Extension, which includes the Edmund E. Willey Bridge over the James River, at a cost of $56 million.

Richmond Beltway

In the 1968 major thoroughfare plan, the Richmond Beltway was shown proposed as a complete 66.2-mile-long circumferential expressway around the region. The 36.2-mile-long portion north of I-64 and east of I-95 was proposed as I-295, and the 30.0-mile-long portion south of I-64 and west of I-95 was proposed as VA-288.

The history of the I-295/VA-288 Richmond Beltway is a direct part of this article, but I have a separate website article about that, and I will direct the reader to my website article Richmond Beltway (I-295 and VA-288) to read that portion, and the continuity of this article flows from this point here, to the Richmond Beltway article, and then back to this point here again.

Post-Implementation Review of RMA Expressways

A major article was published later, "Downtown Expressway has Benefited Richmond", Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 12, 1986. The article provides an interesting perspective about the expressway system about ten years after it was completed. The article summarizes the main points that I have written in my article here, and it provided a balanced discussion of the benefits of the expressway and its impacts.

One of the main opponents to the Downtown Expressway during its planning stages, was Councilman Henry L. Marsh III, an African-American who later served a term as Mayor of Richmond, and he was quoted in this article. He discusses how he was concerned about the major social costs of the expressway due to the major relocations of homes and businesses, and how years later, he could see both tangible and intangible value in the RMA expressway system.

Excerpts from the article (blue text):

"On the whole," he [Marsh] said recently, "I would say that the expressway would be a positive, in that the downtown business district and the retail core are essential elements to Richmond's progress and vitality. I think the expressway is an asset to the city in that it certainly was a motivating factor in the development of the financial district, in the Cary-to-Main Street area," he said. "Without the expressway, that district would not have developed to the extent that it has. And to that extent, I think it's certainly a plus."

Now Marsh says he uses the toll road "quite a bit" and does not dwell much on the fact that the downtown leg of the RMA system eradicated a field where he used to play ball and wiped out the Marsh family homestead at what used to be the corner of Addison Street and Grayland Avenue. "It also serves as an integral part of a network of roadways which enable Richmond to be in the forefront of cities with progressive, effective highway systems, so that people can move from one part of the Richmond area to any other part in a very short period of time," the councilman asserted.

"The Downtown Expressway and the RMA are not the entire network, but are an integral part of that network. And I think to that extent it helps the entire Richmond community become a more progressive place," Marsh said. "It puts us in a good posture for the future."

The article goes on to quote attorney A. J. Brent, who had been general council to the RMA since its inception. He stated that he believed that the city's supplementary financial contributions over the years to RMA had more than paid for themselves by the development stimulated by the expressway, and in particular cites the downtown Federal Reserve Building, the Dominion Virginia Power (old VEPCO) building, and the CSX development, as developments that probably would not have occurred if not for the expressway system and in particular the downtown leg of the Downtown Expressway.

Brent cited as a direct benefit of the expressways, that area residents have an easy, comfortable, convenient and fast way to get to the downtown, and that a financial plan was devised to pay for it at a time when neither the state nor the localities could afford to build it. Brent and other RMA officials were cited as believing that a major intangible benefit of the RMA's activities, is that it helped foster a greater sense of cooperation between the City of Richmond and the adjoining suburbs in Chesterfield County and Henrico County. Brent suggested that RMA happened to be established at a time when the threat of city annexation of county land had caused less than ideal public relations between the city and the two counties.

Sources

1. Report on Express Highways, Through and Between the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, engineering report prepared for the Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Virginia, by consulting engineers R. Stuart Royer and Consoer, Townsend and Associates, Richmond, Virginia, 1946.
2. Transportation, a Master Plan Study, prepared by Segoe-DeLeuw, 1950.
3. Engineering Report, Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, prepared by Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall & MacDonald, August 1955.
4. Map Proposed Major Street and Highway Plan, which was approved by the Richmond City Council in April 1959.
5. Chesterfield Circumferential Routes, Location and Design Study, Inner Route - Middle Corridor - Outer Corridor, prepared by Virginia Department of Highways, September 1962.
6. Western Expressway and Belt Line River Crossing, engineering report prepared for City of Richmond, Virginia, by consulting engineers Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, June 1963.
7. Richmond Expressway System, engineering report prepared for Committee on Trafficways, Richmond, Virginia, by consulting engineers Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, October 1966.
8. "Richmond Expressway Routes Disclosed", Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 23, 1966.
9. Richmond Regional Area Transportation Study, Volume 5 "Recommended Thoroughfare Plan - Street Inventory, Functional Plans, and Cost Estimates", engineering report prepared in cooperation with Richmond Regional Planning Commission, City of Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield Counties, Richmond Metropolitan Authority, Virginia Department of Highways, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prepared by consultant Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964-1968.
10. "Proposed Tollway Shift Held Costly", Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 13, 1972.
11. "Judge Rejects Legal Bid To Halt City Expressway", Richmond News-Leader, May 8, 1973.
12. Final Environmental/Section 4(f) Statement Administrative Action for Interstate Route 295, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico Counties, by Virginia Department of Highways, Environmental Quality Division, in cooperation with U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, May 1973.
13. "RMA Takes Legal Shot At Foes' Views Again", Richmond News-Leader, August 9, 1973.
14. "RMA's Foes Lose Expressway Appeal", Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 18, 1973.
15. "Tollway Foes' Dilemma: To Yield, or Renew Costly Battle", Richmond News-Leader, August 30, 1973.
16. "Expressway Foes Drop Court Fight", Richmond News-Leader, September 11, 1973.
17. "Expressway Taking Shape", Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 26, 1974.
18. "Route of the Downtown Expressway", Richmond News-Leader, June 19, 1974.
19. "Richmond Expressway System Progresses", Virginia Road Builder, September 1974.
20. "Beltline Expressway I-195 Spur Built", Virginia Road Builder, October 1974.
21. "Beltline Slated To Open July 15", Richmond News-Leader, April 25, 1975.
22. "New Beltline Safe, Costly, Toll-Free", Richmond News-Leader, July 14, 1975.
23. "A Ribbon Cutting in Richmond", VDH&T BULLETIN, July-August 1975, Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation.
24. "Paying Station", Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 22, 1975.
25. "Expressway Leg to Open", Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 25, 1976.
26. "'Football Field' is Due to Open", Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 25, 1976.
27. "Powhite Parkway & Downtown Expressway - Location Map & Interchange Details", Richmond Metropolitan Authority, February, 1976.
28. "Expressway to Open", Richmond News-Leader, February 2, 1976.
29. "Downtown Expressway - It Will Open Today", Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 3, 1976.
30. "Expressway Ramp Opened to I-95 Northbound", Richmond News-Leader, August 26, 1976.
31. "Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike Suffers Widening Pains", Virginia Road Builder, October 1976.
32. Map A Guide to Richmond's Expressway System, by Richmond Metropolitan Authority, 1977.
33. "Downtown Expressway has Benefited Richmond", Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 12, 1986.
34. "Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike History", VDOT News Release, June 12, 1992.
35. "I-95/295 Traffic Changes Begin June 26", VDOT News Release, June 12, 1992.
36. "I-95/295 Traffic Changes in Virginia Begin June 26", VDOT News Release, June 22, 1992.
37.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating The Interstate System by Richard F. Weingroff (U.S. Department of Transportation historian), 1996.
38. "Charlottesville won, and Lynchburg lost / Routing of I-64 was major tussle", by Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Century Section, June 13, 1999.

Both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Richmond News-Leader tracked the development of the expressways. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the regional morning newspaper, and the Richmond News-Leader was the regional afternoon newspaper until it and its staff merged with the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1992. Both newspapers are well respected with wide circulation, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch today has the largest circulation of any Virginia-based newspaper. The Virginia Road Builder magazine was published for over 30 years by the Virginia Road Builders Association, beginning in 1944, and it ceased publication in the early 1980s.

Richmond Metropolitan Authority (RMA)
  
History of the RMA
   Powhite Parkway History
   Downtown Expressway History

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

Acronyms for the Virginia state highway and transportation department. VDH from 1927 to 1974. Railroad, aviation and public transportation was added in 1974, and the Department became VDHT. The Department became VDOT in 1986.
-> VDH - Virginia Department of Highways
-> VDHT - Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation
-> VDOT - Virginia Department of Transportation

Copyright 1997-2009 by Scott Kozel. All rights reserved. Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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By Scott M. Kozel, Roads to the Future

(Created 8-14-1997, revised and expanded 7-21-2001, last updated 2-26-2009)