Now that construction has begun in earnest on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion, the anticipated disruptions to Hampton streets have arrived.
Crews are working steadily on the 10-mile stretch from Settlers Landing Road in Hampton through Interstate 564 in Norfolk for the $3.8 billion expansion. The project widens the four-lane highway, bores additional twin tunnels and has an expected completion date by 2025. according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Part of that work entails building a new Mallory Street Bridge, the overpass for Interstate 64 at the Mallory Street exit. Work will be done in phases over two years and calls for lane closures that will begin Sunday.
Beginning at 9 a.m., crews will shift traffic to one lane, reducing access on the south side of Mallory Street and the eastbound ramp to I-64, VDOT spokeswoman Annalysce Baker said. Construction will include roadway striping and bridge demolition to widen the road. The work will continue until 3 p.m. on Sunday and then pick up again from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.
After Monday, some lane closures could start as early as 8 p.m. Motorists should expect some day and nighttime work, but most of the construction is scheduled for overnight hours, Baker said. Once the bridge’s south side is completed, VDOT will close the north-side. During each phase, pedestrians will have access to a sidewalk.
Motorists should plan for possible delays, reduced speeds and possible detours in some areas, all of which could change depending on the weather or other factors, VDOT officials said.
When completed sometime in 2022, the bridge will have a phased center turn lane, two general-purpose lanes, bike lanes and wider sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
The Mallory Street overpass links Phoebus and the Hampton VA Medical Center. The road is habitually jammed with traffic daily during the peak hours from 5 a.m. through 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hampton has long sought remedies for the traffic that can back up to far west as Lasalle Avenue. The bottleneck at times convinces frustrated drivers exit the interstate looking for bypasses through Phoebus and downtown Hampton. Afternoon traffic furthers jams up as people began to leave work from the Hampton VA, Hampton University and other businesses, city officials said.
“We’ll wind up with more traffic in downtown Hampton, but it may make some folks stay on the interstate,” Mayor Donnie Tuck said. “What they are proposing will make it ... worst for a while. You have people who are short cutting through Phoebus. It will be a deterrent for the folks with the different (travel) apps.”
In the past two years, officials have installed bollards on Settlers Landing Road to control the traffic flow from downtown Hampton to the interstate exit near Hampton University. The City Council also mulled having a metered ramp at the Mallory Street exit to regulate traffic, but it was too costly. In additional to ramping up traffic enforcement, in Phoebus, officials added fines up to $250 for “blocking the box” intersections and placed no left turn signs on streets.
“We weren’t able to enforce that,” Tuck said. “We look forward to the fall of 2025.″
Motorists may sign up to receive weekly land closure reports at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/5ESx2Yg/HRBTTrafficUpdates
Motorist may also check updates at https://hrbtexpansion.org/traffic-alerts/default.asp
Lisa Vernon Sparks, 757-247-4832, firstname.lastname@example.org