- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Officials from Hampton University in Virginia say a highway expansion plan threatens historical property.

University president William Harvey said in a statement Thursday that widening Interstate 64 imperils a tree known as the Emancipation Oak. It’s where a woman read President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to southern slaves in 1863.

Harvey said the school has planned a Friday press conference to discuss the issue.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne told The Associated Press in a phone interview that the project would use no school property. He said the state initially considered using some grounds, but they were nowhere near the tree. And he said the state has since backed away from that idea.

The state is considering a proposal to widen I-64 and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. It requires final approval.

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