Lauren Hansen 757-925-1660
Sept. 1, 2010
VDOT CREWS ARE PREPARED FOR HURRICANE EARL
Staff Remains on Standby for Facility Preparation
HAMPTON ROADS- Hurricane season is upon us and crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are ready. The state agency began preparing its crews and facilities for potential hurricane conditions in May, in advance of the onset of the traditional hurricane season.
VDOT has standard operating procedures for hurricanes so that employees involved know their roles, have been trained, and have practiced their roles during drills. Employees also have plenty of field experience dealing with past severe weather conditions.
The National Weather Service has predicted that tropical storm strength winds associated with Hurricane Earl could impact the Hampton Roads region by the end of this week. Localized flooding may occur in conjunction with high tides.
The Route 58 Midtown Tunnel will close tonight, from 11 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 1, until 12 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, to test the tunnel tide gate in preparation for potential weather impacts from Hurricane Earl. Motorists should plan on using the I-264 Downtown Tunnel as an alternate route during this time.
VDOT tests the tide gates at both the Midtown Tunnel and Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) twice a year as a part of its preventative maintenance efforts. VDOT last tested the Midtown Tunnel and HRBT tide gates in June 2010.
Potential closures at regional tunnel and bridge facilities are determined when sustained tropical force winds of 39 miles per hour or more are reached in combination with other factors including storm surge, rain bands and actual traffic conditions at each facility, or there is a threat to the facility itself.
VDOT’s primary role before, during, and after a hurricane is to ensure that the roadways are safe for travel. Following a hurricane, VDOT crews will work to open any closed roads as quickly and safely as possible. Other responsibilities include:
Setting up traffic control and detours; assisting with traffic control for evacuations
Removing debris and branches from roadways and coordinating clean-up with other entities - such as power companies
Making emergency repairs to damaged roads and bridges
Assessing damages and providing emergency engineering services
Coordinating long-term recovery to restore transportation infrastructure
Providing emergency plans and procedures
Providing back-up communications to support emergency response and recovery operations
Communicating road condition information to the public through network of transportation operations centers.
Only the Governor can order a lane reversal of I-64 from Norfolk to Richmond. Currently, there are no plans for mandatory evacuation or lane reversal on Interstate 64. VDOT is closely monitoring the weather predictions for potential impacts and will make changes to the state emergency response plan as necessary in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).
For more information about VDOT’s hurricane preparedness efforts, visit http://www.readyvirginia.gov/ .
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.