HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia State Police are investigating leads surrounding a bomb threat against the Hampton Roads area on the anniversary of 9/11.
Deborah Cox with the Virginia State Police said a threatening phone call concerning the Hampton Roads region came in around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday from a male subject.
As a precaution, VSP was on heightened alert with increased patrols and commercial vehicle inspections at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.
Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson released this statement about the threat:
“Our public safety officials have the expertise and training to handle emergency situations based on their assessments of any perceived threats. While the situation yesterday may have caused delayed travel times for those on local interstates and roadways, I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to the overall safety of our citizens.”
A spokesman for the City of Hampton said city leaders acknowledged back ups Wednesday at inspection stations were an inconvenience for drivers, but the security check was something that had to be done.
"We're not getting into specifics as to what was targeted or the nature of the actual call. But the call did come in, it alluded to a bomb threat, it gave a time for it to occur. It was a male subject that called it in. And so the investigation's ongoing at this time," State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
Geller said investigators were working to find out more about the threat.
"There's a lot of activity that goes on behind the scenes that you don't necessarily see. And that has been going on since immediately the call came in and initiated quite a response from law enforcement, our investigators, working with homeland security as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to kind of work in reverse almost. You start with the call and you start going backwards," Geller said.
Around noon, the Department of Homeland Security arrived on scene at the MMMBT. WAVY News' Erin Kelly reported VSP investigators were out with K-9 units.
The FBI and the Coast Guard also assisted State Police. Petty Officer Brandyn Hill with the Coast Guard told WAVY.com USCG provided two K-9 units and two small boats patrolled the bridge-tunnels.
The commercial vehicle inspections ended around 3:30 p.m. but caused significant delays for all motorists traveling in the area of the two bridge-tunnels and an alternate route, the James River Bridge.
A spokeswoman for Norfolk Public Schools said school buses may have been delayed due to the inspections. Anyone who was flying out of Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport were encouraged to call the airline directly if stuck in traffic.
An official with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel told WAVY.com a threat to that bridge-tunnel was not received, so traffic was not affected. Additionally, a spokesperson with the Virginia Port Authority said business continued as usual there.
Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.
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