If you leave: Evacuation routes

Andy Fox reports on tolls and tunnel traffic numbers

 

There are plenty of benefits to living by the water – in good weather. However, in the event of catastrophic conditions it is important to have plans in place to make sure you can get away from the area safely and as quickly as possible. It is important for residents to be prepared and ready to evacuate immediately, but only if instructed to do so.

Closure Plan For Bridges, Tunnels, Ferries

The Commonwealth of Virginia has developed safety guidelines for Hampton Roads’ bridges, tunnels and ferries. Wind speeds, storm surge, rain bands and other conditions at each bridge, tunnel and ferry are monitored constantly. At the onset of tropical force winds of 39-mph, which are forecasted to intensify, bridge, tunnel and ferry personnel may secure the facility as appropriate and seek areas of safe refuge for their personal safety and to prepare for post-storm operations and recovery response. Based on weather conditions, many bridges and tunnels may be physically closed; however, if a facility is not barricaded, gated or otherwise closed to vehicular traffic, this does not mean the bridge or tunnel is safe for passage.

Motorists should consider their personal safety before using these facilities during severe inclement weather.
The Midtown Tunnel will close and the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will suspend operations when a storm produces sustained winds of 39-mph and is forecasted to intensify.
The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, James River Bridge, Downtown Tunnel, Coleman Bridge and High Rise Bridge will close when an approaching storm produces sustained winds of 45-mph and is forecasted to intensify.

When would Virginia reverse traffic on I-64?
Only the governor can issue the order for an I-64 lane reversal.
Here’s where the I-64 lane reversal would be in effect.
Beginning just east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel at mile marker 273, ending at the Interstate 295 interchange east of Richmond at mile marker 200.
What will a reversal mean for you?
No traffic will be allowed to travel east on Interstate 64 from just before the HRBT. All I-64 eastbound lanes and ramps between Norfolk and Richmond will be closed to eastbound traffic
to I-295 east of Richmond. The entrance to the reversed lanes on I-64 is in Norfolk, just east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, at mile marker 273.
There will be only two possible exits for traffic traveling on the reversed lanes between Norfolk and I-295. They are: Exit 234 in Williamsburg (Route 199) for gas, food, lodging and hospitals and Exit 205 in Bottoms Bridge for gas and food. There will be a comfort station on I-64 near Jefferson Avenue (mile marker 255) and the safety rest areas in New Kent County, which are accessible without exiting the interstate. Drivers who exit the reversed lanes at Exit 234 or Exit 205 cannot re-enter the reversed lanes. They can re-enter I-64 using the regular I-64 westbound ramps. Peninsula traffic will utilize I-64 westbound, entering and exiting regularly.

Here’s a good checklist before you leave:

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gasoline.
  • Get cash out early, ATM service may become interrupted.
  • Make plans to secure your property.
  • Take extra supplies with you (food, water, etc). You may be stuck in traffic for a long period of time.
  • Bring a cell phone and your charger/car adapter.
  • Carry all valuables and important documents in a waterproof container.
  • If you are travelling with pets, be sure they have necessary supplies and accommodations.
  • Shut off power, water, and gas. A professional has to turn your gas back on.

 

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