Thursday, February 29, 2024

Take note: This new traffic pattern in Hampton will be there a while

(WY Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WY Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)

HAMPTON — Drivers may have noticed avoiding Interstate 64 traffic by exiting at Lasalle Avenue or Mercury Boulevard, then cutting through Phoebus or Downtown Hampton is no longer an option.

Despite what GPS mobile apps say, city officials recently announced the cones separating Hampton University or Veteran Affairs Medical Center traffic from I-64 traffic on Settlers Landing Road will soon be replaced with “more permanent” poles.

The city’s Public Works department is also painting stencils for directions on the roadway, officials said.

Robin McCormick, a spokeswoman for the city, said the measures are temporary but drivers should expect them to be in place at least until the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion project is complete and proves to alleviate the congestion.

“It was backing up so badly that it really wasn’t effective as a shortcut and it wasn’t effective for people who live in those areas or for businesses and people who are trying to get to those businesses,” she said.

Public Works crews installed traffic control cones and lane dividers in August when officials said I-64 Eastbound drivers who used the road as a detour caused hazards by blocking lanes on the Settlers Landing Road bridge prohibiting access to first responder vehicles.

After the cones had been in place for about two weeks, McCormick said officials responded to feedback from social media sites, the public and law enforcement agencies when they modified lanes to split into three at the entrance to Hampton Harbor Shops and Apartments.

Now, drivers use the far right lane for access to Hampton University and the VA Medical Center, the middle lane for I-64 eastbound, and the left lane for I-64 westbound and through-traffic.

“That seemed to go a little bit better and we heard from people that it made things smoother at that intersection,” she said.

RELATED STORY: HRBT expansion to cost $3.56 billion

As traffic seems to ramp up again next summer, McCormick said they’ll reassess the measures to ensure they’re still effective until the long-term solution is accomplished.

The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion project is the largest in Virginia history and with a total budget of $3.8 billion it’s also one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country, according to a fact sheet from the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

Construction to expand the three-and-a half-mile corridor’s two lanes to four is expected to be completed by November 2025.

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