August 25, 2011
Lauren Hansen (757) 925-1515
Media Emergency Number (757) 925-2584
VDOT TO TEST TIDE GATES AT TUNNELS FRIDAY MORNING
Jamestown-Scotland Ferry to Suspend Service on Friday at 10 a.m.
SUFFOLK— The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will test the tide gates at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) and the Midtown Tunnel Friday, August 26, beginning at 4 a.m. to ensure that VDOT facilities and crews throughout Hampton Roads are prepared for hurricane conditions. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during tests.
The HRBT has four tide gates; one at each tunnel portal. The Midtown Tunnel has one tide-gate on the Norfolk side of the tunnel. Motorists traveling through the HRBT or Midtown Tunnel during tests tonight can expect to be stopped for approximately 30 minutes as each tide gate is tested.
VDOT is monitoring weather conditions and is in close communication with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. Although weather conditions may not reach facility closure thresholds, crews have been mobilized to prepare area facilities for hurricane conditions.
e are testing the flood gates to make sure they are functioning properly in concert with our personnel and equipment in the event of a disaster,” said Dwayne K. Cook, Eastern Regional Operations Director for VDOT. “We’re taking this very seriously because we have a responsibility to the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
During testing, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes such as the I-264 Downtown Tunnel and I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel to avoid delays. Visit www.VirginiaDOT.org for lane closure schedules or more information about VDOT’s Hampton Roads tunnel facilities.
Additionally, due to updated information from the National Weather Service about Hurricane Irene’s path, VDOT will suspend services for the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry earlier than originally anticipated. The ferry system will now begin suspension of services at 10 a.m., Friday, August 26, 2011. All ferry boats will be relocated to Richmond and service will resume once crews determine the boats can return safely.
Alternate Route for the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry:
From the Surry Side:
Take Route 10 to Route 258 to the James River Bridge (Route 17). Follow signs for Route 64 West. Exit onto Route 199 toward Williamsburg. Follow to Route 31 (Jamestown Road).
From the Jamestown Side:
Take Route 31 to Route 199. Make a right onto Route 199. Merge onto Route 64 East. Follow to the James River Bridge exit. After traveling over the bridge make a right onto Route 258, then make a right onto Route 10. Follow Route 10 to the blinking light in the town of Surry.
For updates on ferry service, motorists can call the ferry hotline at 1-800-VA-FERRY. For more information about other VDOT maintained roads, motorists can tune into 610AM, dial 511 or visit http://www.VirginiaDOT.org.
VDOT worked with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the localities in Hampton Roads to develop facility closure guidelines for the area’s bridges, tunnels and ferry system. The guidelines outline how VDOT will track environmental factors and communicate internally to safely close these facilities should they become dangerous for motorists or threatened by flooding. Facility closure timing will be based on winds, storm surge, rain bands and actual conditions at the facility. Area residents should already have evacuated to permanent shelter prior to arrival of conditions that would trigger the closure of major bridge and tunnel facilities.