Newport News wants money to study reconnecting downtown and Southeast
Update - Sept. 12, 7:15 p.m.: Newport News' City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to request funds from the federal government to help reconnect neighborhoods in the southern part of the city that were divided by I-664.
City staff will send the application to the Federal Highway Administraiton requesting $800,000 for a feasability study. If approved, the city would have to kick in another $200,000 of its own money to conduct the study.
Original - Sept. 12, 11:14 a.m.: Newport News' City Council will vote whether to ask the federal government to help it improve access to neighborhoods in the city's Southeast neighborhood that were divided by major infrastructure projects.
The city would request $800,000 from the federal government's Reconnecting Communities grant to study a way to better connect downtown Newport News with the neighborhoods to the east. The area was bisected by Interstate 664 in the late 1980s, which was built to facilitate the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel.
The highway cut off neighborhoods like Ridley Circle - which is currently undergoing a major redevelopment backed by federal funds - from easy access to downtown and Newport News' shipyard. Instead, several curving flyovers were built to get cars from one side of the interstate to the other.
Norfolk got $1.6 million from the same federal program earlier this year to redesign interstate highway on- and off-ramps that carved up predominantly Black communities east of the city's downtown.
That work will go hand-in-hand with Norfolk's own federally backed redevelopment in the St. Paul's Quadrant, where hundreds of public housing apartments have already come down and whole new neighborhood is in the works.
The City Council will vote on the request Tuesday evening.