NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A decision by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) puts Virginia's efforts to relieve congestion at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) closer to becoming a reality.

The FHA issued its record of decision related to the Hampton Roads Crossing Study on June 12.

In it, the agency chose Alternative A as its preferred alternative for expanding the HRBT.

That option will add a third lane in the eastbound direction of Interstate 64, beginning just west of Settlers Landing Road. A new, three-lane bridge-tunnel will cross the water just west of the existing HRBT. That three-lane bridge-tunnel will serve eastbound traffic. It will continue to Willoughby Spit where it will tie into the existing lanes of Interstate 64 eastbound. A third lane will be added from that point down to Interstate 564.

In the westbound direction of Interstate 64, crews will add a third lane from Interstate 564 to the four-lane cross-section of the existing HRBT on Willoughby Spit. From that point, the current westbound lanes of the HRBT will re-striped for one lane. The existing eastbound lanes will be converted to westbound lanes.

Drivers, then, will have three lanes crossing the water in each direction.

In Hampton, the three-lane cross-section will tie into the existing three-lane cross-section of Interstate 64 at South Mallory Street.

The decision by the FHA clears the way for VDOT to begin the process of soliciting companies that are interested in submitting proposals to design the project and build it.

FHA Decision of Record Regarding Hampton Roads Crossing Study by 13News Now on Scribd