NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — VDOT officials plan to monitor traffic at the 15th View Street ramp to I-64 in Ocean View, after continuous problems with wrong-way drivers.
WAVY News first reported Friday that many motorists drive up the off-ramp when the on-ramp is closed, despite “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs.
“It’s mind-boggling to think that someone would go the wrong way up an off-ramp, because they’re really taking their lives into their own hands, but we’ve seen it. They’re going up the wrong way. I saw them jump the concrete on Saturday and try and skirt behind the arm,” said VDOT spokeswoman Paula Miller.
In one case, drivers went up the off-ramp minutes after a tractor-trailer came down it. VDOT said it plans to count how many drivers are doing that and to install a device to deter them.
Video from Friday shows someone holding up the arm to the closed on-ramp to allow several cars through. The next day, someone broke the arm, which costs approximately $3,500 to repair, Miller said.
“We’ve had three arms broken since June and … it’s a problem that obviously VDOT has noticed and we’re addressing,” she said.
Monday afternoon, crews were out fixing the broken arm.
“It’s a combined effort now to really address this problem that’s been going on, and it’s obviously gotten worse,” Miller said.
Neighbor Paul Abercrombie questioned the timing of the ramp closures.
“There’s nothing consistent, you know? Because sometimes this median can be down at 8 in the morning, sometimes it can be down at 1, 2 … I never condone breaking the law. At the same time, I understand the frustrations of having to get back on the other side,” he said.
Miller said the closures of the on-ramp aim to prevent traffic from clogging the neighborhood.
“That gate comes down when traffic backs up to the Willoughby Bay bridge, so it’s a matter of policy when the traffic gets backed up, that’s the way we can start managing the traffic situation,” she said.
On Friday WAVY News saw drivers wait for the gate to open, then turn around when they realized it wouldn’t. Miller said drivers get plenty of notice.
“There are at least three lights right here on West Ocean View Avenue and back … before the 4th View intersection, that tells them that this ramp is closed,” she said.
Some drivers have said their GPS led them there.
Virginia State Police said troopers have been advised to patrol the area as much as possible, and though they don’t have the manpower to keep a trooper here continuously, they’re working with VDOT on the issue.
Norfolk police said they’re working with VDOT and state police on the issue, too.