The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the basement of the state Capitol.

Transportation officials seek input on I-95 improvements

RICHMOND — Virginia transportation officials are asking the public for ideas on how to improve Interstate 95.

The first round of public comments on a study to improve the I-95 corridor will end Aug. 21. Comments can be submitted at

Officials are looking to identify key problem areas along I-95. The highway runs for 179 miles in Virginia, from Alexandria to the North Carolina border.

State lawmakers have directed transportation officials to also study potential financing options for improving the highway.

A similar directive recently led lawmakers to approve a regional fuel tax hike to pay for improvements to Interstate 81 in the western part of the state. Some lawmakers initially supported adding tolls to the highway.

Initiative aims to protect James River watershed

RICHMOND — Virginia is trying to protect its longest river by launching a new program to plant 900 acres of trees, shrubs and other vegetation along waterways.

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced an initiative to plant forested buffers in the James River watershed between Lynchburg and Richmond.

The Virginia Department of Forestry is partnering with the James River Association on the project, which is part of a $15 million, multiyear plan to improve the river’s quality.

The buffers slow floodwater, filter runoff, and provide shade and shelter to wildlife.

The 340-mile-long James is fed by 15,000 miles of tributaries.

Eligible property owners can apply for free buffers and installation at

UVA says it’s equipped to handle high enrollment

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Officials at the University of Virginia say that while the college overshot its target for first-year enrollments, its facilities are ready for the additional students.

The Daily Progress reported that UVA was expecting to enroll 3,924 students for the Class of 2023, slightly higher than its target of 3,750.

Gay Perez, UVA’s director of housing, said there are 6,650 beds available for undergraduate housing and as, of two weeks ago, 6,620 were full.

UVA’s newest dorm, Bond House, is included in that count. It got slightly behind schedule but is expected to be finished by move-in weekend.

At Virginia Tech, an overenrollment has prompted the college to lease space from local hotels and ask some students to consider deferring admission.

Report: Southeast Va. could see $40B hit from hurricane

NORFOLK — Experts say southeastern Virginia could suffer $40 billion in losses if it’s struck by a major hurricane.

Professors from Old Dominion University said in a recent report that the damage could seriously puncture the regional economy.

The report said losses could equal 40% of Hampton Roads’ gross domestic product, which is a measure of an economy’s health and accounts for the total output of goods and services.

The report predicted a loss of 175,000 jobs and a decline in economic activity if the region’s infrastructure and military installations sustain major damage.

The report was put together by the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency. The center was established by Old Dominion University, the College of William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

— From wire reports

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