Closures of I-264 Downtown Tunnel Cause Traffic Chaos in Portsmouth
The I-264 Downtown Tunnel is the primary road link between Norfolk and Portsmouth which means any closure of the tunnel is a likely recipe for congestion, frustration and even accidents.
Tunnel closures have been ongoing for a year now and they have caused problems on occasions. The work is part of the Midtown Tunnel, MLK Expansion and Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation project. Westbound closures overnight have been followed by Eastbound closures over the weekend, which have been more disruptive.
Last month, the Virginian-Pilot reported on how a closure of the Downtown Tunnel, caused chaos through Portsmouth in the form of drivers waiting for hours to get to the Midtown Tunnel. These weekend closures will be ongoing until the beginning of September.
Initially many drivers who hoped to take the Downtown Tunnel were unaware of the closure and followed the detour signs to London Boulevard.
Lauren Hansen, a spokeswoman for Elizabeth River Crossings, said the tunnel operator had spread the word about the closures in a number of ways, including with news releases and email alerts, interviews with media, a billboard on Interstate 264 and advertisements on PilotOnline.com.
Tunnel closure signs (Wavy.com)
“We typically see heavier traffic during the first of a series of closures,” she said. “Hopefully, as they continue, more people will be aware of them. We do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused for motorists.”
The suggested primary alternate routes to avoid the Downtown Tunnel over the weekend include the High-Rise Bridge and the Midtown Tunnel. The Gilmerton Bridge and the tolled South Norfolk Jordan Bridge are also options.
The Downtown Tunnel will be closed heading east on Aug. 1-4, 8-11, 15-18 and 22-25 and Sept. 5-8, according to the ERC website.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the fault of another driver in or around the Downtown Tunnel in Norfolk or in Portsmouth or elsewhere in Hampton Roads, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com.
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