Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Lauren Hansen 757-925-1660
Sept. 17, 2012
VDOT TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND WORK ON HAMPTON ROADS BRIDGE-TUNNEL AND JAMES RIVER BRIDGE
RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will suspend maintenance work on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) on Interstate 64 and James River Bridge (JRB) on Route 17 to evaluate the severe traffic impacts on motorists following the weekend’s closures.
“While we understood that this maintenance work at the HRBT and JRB would cause impacts that would result in delays, the amount of disruption to travelers this weekend was frankly unacceptable,” said Chief Deputy Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “We are sorry for the delays Hampton Roads motorists experienced on Saturday, Sept. 15, and will review our future lane closure plans to limit the impacts to the traveling public. There are three major crossings in the Hampton Roads region. The HRBT, the JRB and the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel. As a matter of agency policy, VDOT will not schedule multiple closures of these facilities at the same time for the purposes of maintenance and construction work.”
VDOT closed multiple lanes at two water crossings for maintenance operations, including repaving operations inside the HRBT. While it is possible to close only one lane on some roadways for this type of paving work, since this is a tunnel, the entire HRBT facility must be closed to move equipment inside, and ensure the safety of both motorists and workers. At the JRB, crews were removing and replacing the steel grid bridge deck.
These projects are critical for the long-term safety of the facilities. VDOT repaves the HRBT once every ten to twelve years to prevent pavement deterioration and keep the driving conditions as smooth as possible. The JRB steel grid deck must be replaced to ensure the safety of the structure.
Work will resume once a lane closure evaluation is complete. VDOT will have a new schedule determined by the end of this week. The agency will give motorists adequate notice of the work and impacts.
“It is the goal of our agency to ensure that all maintenance operations occur during periods with the least possible impact to motorists, while maintaining safe and efficient travel conditions throughout the area,” said Kilpatrick. “We did not meet that goal, and we must do a better job. Once again, we apologize for the delays and negative impacts this last weekend had on travelers and will strive to improve our project planning and procedures.”
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