Special Report: Base Jam

WAVY TV 10 Photo

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s not exactly a secret — the commute to Naval Station Norfolk creates long traffic jams.

Earlier this month, 10 On Your Side got reports of the drive taking people up to two hours to get to work.

10 On Your Side went to see what caused the massive jams.

We talked to sailors and civilians. They all say they have to plan their commutes with an extra 30 minutes before work.

Some mornings that strategy gets them to work early, but at the beginning of the month it was horrendous. We talked to a man who takes his morning walks along Granby Street near the base traffic.

“A day like today it’s not a problem, but several weeks ago it was backed up from gate 22 all the way to Chester,” said Tony Tyson.

Jam cam video from late November and early December shows the bumper to bumper traffic headed to Naval Station Norfolk.

“If they take the freeways they have worse time than Hampton Boulevard,” said Adrian Tuttle, a civilian worker.

That week they had long lines of traffic that caused long commutes.

“I live about a mile and it will take anywhere between an hour and hour and a half,” said sailor Emily Callari.

Traffic is no new issue. Every day around 55,000 vehicles head to the Naval Station Norfolk.

“What was the problem? Because this was the first time in 31 years I’ve seen the traffic that bad,” Tyson asked.

10 On Your Side asked the Navy that question.

A spokesperson responded:

“The main reason the traffic was so heavy was because of a large number of ships in port. There are other factors that contribute, however that is the main factor. ”

“We work closely with VDOT and the City of Norfolk on road project coordination and traffic mitigation.”

For the last several years, Hampton Roads Transit has worked to create a plan to help.

“If we’ve got 60-70,000 people entering and exiting the Navy base every day, that’s a reason to make sure we have high capacity transit,” said Transit Development Director Jamie Jackson.

The goal is to find a route that eases traffic the most and can get federal funding. But when would it start?

“So if we are talking about construction, six years would be the absolute earliest,” Jackson replied.

We asked the commuters: what is the best way to deal with the traffic?

“Oh, take a boat,” Adrian Tuttle joked. “If you could take a boat it would go straight to the base.”