Archived Story

664 tolls to be studied

Published 9:57pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization voted Thursday to support a feasibility study for rush-hour tolls on the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

Also at the meeting, members discussed the region’s six-year transportation plan, updated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday.

The tolls on the two crossings would provide a short-term solution to congestion at the tunnels that happens routinely during rush hour, members said.

“It buys us some time,” said Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman. “They have a choice whether to pay the toll or not pay the toll. I don’t see any downsides of going this direction.”

The study also would provide data that can be used to make decisions about what to do with the crossings in the long term, according to the resolution.

“All of these large projects are going to have to have some kind of revenue stream,” said Aubrey Layne Jr., the Hampton Roads representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Suffolk’s representatives on the HRTPO board — City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn, Mayor Linda T. Johnson and Vice Mayor Charles Brown — made no comments in the discussion about tolls.

Regarding the six-year plan, Layne said he believes Hampton Roads is getting its fair share and more of the available money. The latest update added $45 million to the region for a total of $2.7 billion during the six-year period.

However, the edits do not provide any additional money to Suffolk’s Route 58 widening project. Layne said it is likely Route 58 would not see any additional money until the new Route 460 gets closer to being built.

The Route 58 widening is estimated to cost $69 million, according to the six-year plan. Only $28 million has been previously allocated.

Construction on the Route 460 project — a 55-mile toll road between Suffolk and Petersburg that would cost as much as $11.72 to travel beginning in 2018 — is set to begin around the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015, Layne said. The government will begin taking land needed for the project in the next six months or so.

Construction is set to be completed in 2017, Layne added. Because the middle of the road will be built first, Suffolk likely will not see construction action until later in the process.

The HRTPO also voted to approve the Patriot’s Crossing project as its preferred alternative to widening the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. The crossing would connect Route 164 in Portsmouth, as well as Interstate 564 in Norfolk, via a tunnel and bridge and meet up with Interstate 664 at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel in the middle of the river.

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  • bfhirsch34

    We have those three little fools running the city of Suffolk, see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil. This is the same response we had to the railroad situation that now has 10 minutes trains running right by our houses and businesses, “NOTHING”. When are we going to get someone that can stand up for people of Suffolk??
    Our tunnels get congested, 1 its our own faults, if drivers would get off their cell phones, drive though the tunnels at the posted speed limit instead of slowing down going into the tunnels, 2 because the slow response to breakdowns and wrecks and 3 if they were kept in better shape we would not have to slow down for potholes, waterleaks and just the dingy and dark condition of the tunnels. Why is it we can drive 60 mph leading up to the tunnels, but can’t maintain that through the tunnels? Putting rush hour tolls will be something else to slow us down. We need better leaders who can think these things through.

    Suggest Removal

    • thekytikat

      You asked, “When are we going to get someone that can stand up for people of Suffolk??”

      The answer is – Not until we find good people to run against the current entrenched power set, and support those people on the ground in the boroughs, then elect those people.

      Gardy, Parr, Brown, & Duman are all up for re-election in 2014. Who’s running against them?

      Suggest Removal

  • chief601

    I think the answer is to move to the western part of the state or West Virginia. As ageing parents pass on that’s what I plan to do.

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    • 180Grain

      I agree with you Chief. That has been my wife and I’s plan for about the last couple of years. The whole Tidewater area from Virginia Beach to Suffolk seems to be run by idiots. I used to really love this place. It’s really sad what this area has become.

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  • PaulaMcElroy

    This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Hilarious!

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  • sgallotta

    “The tolls on the two crossings would provide a short-term solution to congestion at the tunnels that happens routinely during rush hour, members said.”

    “It buys us some time,” said Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman. “They have a choice whether to pay the toll or not pay the toll. I don’t see any downsides of going this direction.”

    Has there ever been a stupider sentence? Take the only two chokepoints and make them harder to cross. Surely that will ease the congestion. A politician who spouts such stupidity surely has dopes for constituents.

    Suggest Removal

  • Roger Leonard

    More, bad ideas and silence from our representatives in Suffolk. RT-58 was in need before the Center-Point project was approved by the council and it will get progressively worse as time goes by.

    Tolling existing routes should only occure to improve them, not to produce revenue to pay for Port-oriented projects like the Third-Crossing to link to existing crossings and put more traffic on them. How does this work when we say they are alread burdened and need tolls? Where is that logic going??? We need to fix bottle-necks like the HRBT and routes west first, then guild the Lilly for the PORTs…

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  • SouthernLady

    I agree that the proposals of Rush Hour Tolls are not going to ease congestion. People still only have limited ways to cross the river and until the day comes that the State of Virginia builds more bridges and tunnels, the rush hour congestion will never go away. A better solution would be to build another bridge and tunnel and an even better solution than that would be to build even another bridge and tunnel. While I’m at it, does the State of Virginia ever plan to widen I-64 between Newport News and Richmond? That interstate is a complete joke and has been for decades. It is quicker to go to Williamsburg through Surry via the ferry or even take Rt. 60 through Newport News.

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  • NP

    Is there anyone that can explain how a bridge/tunnel parking lot will reduce congestion at 2 choke points? How about a 3rd crossing instead of connecting 2 crossings. The Patriots Crossing is a complete waste of time and money. All it is, is a project to say: Hey look we are doing something about traffic congestion. Maybe this region should plan ahead instead of playing catch up. When I drive to the other side of the state I am always surprised to see just a little bit of traffic on nice wide roads. While here in HR we have bumpy, potholed congested roads. But hey! Nice parking lot with a great river view!

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  • wkbristow

    So, explain how a toll will reduce congestion. Is the idea to discourage use of I-664 and push traffic to secondary roads like US-17 and the James River Bridge? You may MOVE the congestion, but you will not REDUCE the congestion.

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    • PaulaMcElroy

      wkbristow – You just hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. People won’t take the new over-priced Jordan Bridge and the sad part is the traffic “gurus” seem shocked by that.

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