PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) - The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge is pulling out the stops to encourage drivers to take the new tolled route over the south Elizabeth River.
It lowered tolls through Spring, and is offering a commuter club with discounts at local retail shops and restaurants. But is the bridge, as advertised, "the short cut you've longed for?"
10 On Your Side put the bridge to the test over two days, testing two routes. The first was from Portsmouth to Norfolk while the other was from Portsmouth to the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake.
WAVY.com had drivers leave from the same location at the same time with Chopper 10 keeping an eye on them from the sky.
In the first round, drivers pulled out at 7 a.m. The driver who took the Downtown Tunnel had a surprisingly smooth ride. The driver taking the Jordan Bridge ran into some unexpected traffic as she turned onto Elm Street.
" There was no traffic on the Jordan, the traffic began at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where they were checking IDs for the base, " explained Christine Bethea.
It took Bethea five minutes longer to get to the destination than the driver who went through the Downtown Tunnel.
As traffic started getting heavier drivers conducted the test again. It was 7:40 a.m. and by that time cars were backed up past Frederick Boulevard.
This time there was no back up at the shipyard and Bethea sailed through. She made it to the destination nearly two minutes quicker than the other driver.
The routes were tested again in the evening rush two days later. Drivers got nearly the same result, the Jordan Bridge driver reached the Norfolk destination three minutes sooner.
Next, WAVY.com pitted the Jordan Bridge against the High Rise Bridge going to the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake. The Jordan Bridge route was quicker by two and a half minutes.
WAVY.com shared the results with Jordan Bridge Management, which has done its own tests. "Yes, we have seen similar results as yours, we've also seen an hour savings one way on certain days," said General Manager Kevin Crum.
If you're considering trying it, weigh the cost. Here are a few things to consider:
- The toll costs $1 right now when you use an EZ Pass . If you don't have one, you'll have to open an account and you must prepay a minimum of $35 in tolls.
- You can pay by plate, that requires setting up an account with Jordan Bridge, then it will cost you $2 one way.
- If you have neither, it will cost you $3 one way and you'll get the bill in the mail.
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