HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton neighborhood has become the not-so-secret “secret shortcut” for drivers looking to bypass tunnel traffic near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.
The Interstate 64 eastbound on-ramps at Mallory Street and Settlers Landing have become a spot for commuters to hop on and off to avoid the backups.
Virginia Department of Transportation officials came out on Wednesday suggesting a temporary proposal to mitigate the traffic before two major projects at the Hampton Road Bridge-Tunnel ramp up.
VDOT is looking at the two ramps as places to put remotely operated gates that would prevent drivers from being able to get on I-64 eastbound at the two entryways. They believe the 3-6 p.m. closure will deter drivers from unnecessarily interrupting the flow of traffic.
The gates would be in place until construction on the HRBT Expansion Project and the Hampton Roads Express Lane Network (HRELN) finish up.
The proposal was presented to Hampton City Council. Leaders like Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and other members weighed in on the idea of gating the on-ramps. They voiced concerns for stakeholders like the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Hampton University.
The proposal still has several steps to go before possibly becoming Hampton’s new temporary reality. The final step would be receiving approval from the federal level to put in the gates. That could happen as early as September.
If VDOT’s timeline is on track, they believe the gates could be up and operating as soon as late January.
“There’s no silver bullet,” said VDOT’s Hampton Roads District Engineer Christopher Hall. “But it will certainly mitigate the problem.”
If you’d like to weigh in on the decision, you’ll have to sign up to speak at an early September Hampton City Council meeting.
Stay with WAVY.com as this story develops.