NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - For the past two years, the Berkley Bridge has had scheduled bridge lifts, but now the Coast Guard wants to hear from commuters.
The scheduled lifts have so far been temporary and will go back to random lifts when ships need to pass unless Coast Guard is prompted to keep things as they are now.
Following WAVY.com's reports in 2005, the on-demand openings stopped at the Dominion Boulevard Steel Bridge. The reports would also help end the on-demand bridge openings at the Berkeley Bridge.
The on-demand was replaced with scheduled openings.
"It makes your day much more predictable," VDOT Regional Operations Director Wayne Cook said. "You can plan for events like a wedding, child care, meetings and you can count on getting there with some predictability."
Cook says this is a standard of living issue for the 100,000 vehicles that cross the bridge every day.
"We have 88 scheduled lifts during the weekdays throughout the month," Cook said. "On average, only 24 lifts have been used each week since this deviation plan was put in place."
This means only 27 percent of the lifts are used by the maritime industry.
"We believe we have met a balance for the maritime industry as well as the roadway users," Cook said.
VDOT says over the last year, the bridge has been lifted an unscheduled 42 times to accommodate maritime traffic, showing a willingness to accommodate ships when the time calls for it.
This happens when a ship may be too big or the currents too swift or the wind too strong that the ship must get through immediately.
Currently, the bridge routinely opens weekdays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The bridge does not open during the morning and evening rush.
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