Road work causes confusion on Tidewater Drive

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – It’s a road construction project in Norfolk that many feel is stuck in the slow lane, and the detour is a major headache for people in the Southern Shopping Center area.

A few months ago, the city started tearing up the feeder lanes from Tidewater Drive to East Little Creek Road. Drivers claim the signs said work would be done by June, but with a day left until July, the road is still a mess. The city says there may be a misunderstanding.

10 On Your Side found out Monday that Phase One of the project ended in June. Phase Two just began. And there’s one more phase to go. City officials say from the beginning they announced an eight to 10 month endeavor that they’re scheduled to complete on time.

In the meantime, it’s not just drivers paying the price.

“We been here 45 years, and I’ve never seen a mess like this,” said Robert Hartman, who owns Hartman Auto Services. “We’re down about 50 percent. We’ve never been this slow before. We brought in a car of ours just to have something to do.”

If you haven’t traveled down Tidewater Drive in a while, the sight could take you by surprise. Changing traffic patterns on a street for construction — you expect some confusion. But with this rehab project taking place on one of Norfolk’s busiest streets, though, there are more headaches than usual to go around.

“As with any roadway construction, when you start traffic detours, you really don’t know what you’re going to see until the start of the actual project,” said Jeneen White with the city of Norfolk.

White said the work has to be done before a deteriorating bridge becomes a danger.

If you live or work nearby, like Hartman, the side effects of something the city calls “progress” aren’t sitting well. He said he just got a driveway again last Friday after four months, and even getting to that takes a bit of maneuvering, navigating through a neighborhood and then down an unpaved path.

“All we have is a dirt road, and when it rains we have a mud road,” Hartman said.

White explained to what’s expected for Phase Two of the project.

“Both tubes of the underpass are coming out, and there’s going to be some repair work done to the top portion of the Little Creek Bridge,” White said.

Phase Three includes an overlay of the pavement on both Tidewater Drive and Little Creek Road, staining of retaining walls, and striping, which requires more lane closures down the road. But it’s all expected to be complete before the holidays.

The city Tweeted about the Construction on Monday, letting people know Phase 2 was underway:

Here’s a link to more information about the project, plus an email address and phone number for questions and concerns.

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