RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Lauren Hansen (757) 925-1660
Lauren.Hansen@vdot.virginia.gov
HR0913

Oct. 16, 2009



I-264 BERKLEY BRIDGE TO BEGIN SCHEDULED DAYTIME BRIDGE LIFTS, MONDAY, OCT. 19, 2009

NORFOLK — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin daytime scheduled bridge lifts at the I-264 Berkley Bridge beginning Monday, Oct. 19, as a result of a temporary deviation from the federal regulation governing bridge lifts across the downtown Norfolk harbor.

The temporary deviation, issued by the Fifth United States Coast Guard District, allows VDOT to open the Berkley Bridge during scheduled times rather than on-demand.  This will give motorists the ability to plan their travel times during other than morning and afternoon rush hours, when closures are prohibited under federal regulation.

The I-264 Berkley Bridge will open on signal at 9 a.m., 11a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning the week of Monday, Oct. 19. The bridge will not open during these scheduled times when vessels have not signaled and are not waiting for passage. The duration of the traffic stops due to the bridge lifts are dependent on maritime traffic volumes.  Prior to the temporary deviation, the Berkley Bridge would open upon vessel demand.  The bridge will continue to remain closed during commute periods, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, except during federal holidays.  

The bridge can open upon request during the restricted hours for a vessel with a draft of at least 18 feet if at least six hours of notification has been given.  

A temporary deviation was issued on Oct. 9, 2009 by the United States Coast Guard at the request of VDOT to determine whether a permanent schedule change is needed. The temporary deviation will be in effect through March, 2010. A Notice of Proposed Rule Making for a 3-year deviation plan lasting until Oct. 5, 2012 is also being considered by the Coast Guard.

Motorists are encouraged to submit comments to the Coast Guard regarding this proposed change by Dec. 8, 2009 to Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA, 23704. A copy of the Docket USCG-2009-0754 published in the Federal Register on Oct. 9, is available to be viewed by the public by clicking here.
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