Lauren Hansen 757-925-1660
Nov. 18, 2009
BERKLEY BRIDGE SCHEDULED LIFTS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD THROUGH DECEMBER 8, 2009
United States Coast Guard is accepting comments on the temporary deviation
SUFFOLK - The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) received a Temporary Deviation from the regulation governing the operating schedule of the I-264/ I-464 Berkley Bridge on October 9, 2009. This temporary deviation from the Fifth Coast Guard District commander allows VDOT to schedule weekday bridge lifts - greatly benefiting motorists in the Hampton Roads region.
During this temporary deviation, from October 9, 2009, to March 9, 2010, the Berkley Bridge will open to vessels requesting passage at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Exceptions include federal holidays and emergency lifts. Bridge lifts are not permitted under current regulations during peak travel periods, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Coast Guard has also submitted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for a three-year deviation plan that would enable VDOT to schedule bridge lifts through October 5, 2012. If the temporary deviation expires without this additional Notice of Proposed Rule Making recommendation, VDOT will be required to open the Berkley Bridge on-demand, once again, starting March 10, 2010.
“VDOT developed a formula based on the Texas Transportation Institute Methodology for the 2009 Urban Mobility Report to determine how much each bridge lift costs motorists in related delays,” states Dennis Heuer, VDOT Hampton Roads District Administrator. “We found that the average 15-minute Berkley Bridge opening can cost motorists over $22,000 in delays associated with lost time.”
“This is a lost time cost of $1.1 million per month because of unscheduled bridge lifts. The temporary deviation offered by the Coast Guard saves not only time, but it also saves the citizens of Hampton Roads a significant amount of money,” Heuer explains.
The Coast Guard is taking public comment through December 8, 2009, for both of these rulings. VDOT has developed a brief online comment form for citizens to forward to the Coast Guard. Citizens can click the link below to submit comments:
Editors Note: For media interested in scheduling more in-depth interviews, contact Nora Jump-Scott, Traffic Operations Center Public Information Officer, 757-925-3606 or Nora.Jump-Scott@VDOT.Virginia.gov.
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