This was a series of transportation-related articles in the Virginian-Pilot in late July, 2004.

Various Hampton Roads/Eastern Shore articles from the past week

Thought these would be of interest to some:

Truck spills, tunnel shuts, traffic stops, trouble starts
By TOM HOLDEN, The Virginian-Pilot
July 30, 2004

NORFOLK - A slick of transmission fluid shut down the westbound lanes of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on Thursday for more than two hours, creating a nine-mile traffic jam along Interstate 64.

The stalled traffic, which rivaled the congestion that followed the malfunction of the Berkley Bridge in May , prompted some drivers to make abrupt U-turns on the interstate in a desperate attempt to get moving.

Others tried to sidestep the interstate jam by moving along Ocean View Avenue to 4th View Street, which was quickly overwhelmed and became gridlocked.

Rest of the article is at

While I lucked out and didn't get stuck in this mess, a co-worker of mine, coming in later, wasn't so lucky. He hit the jam near Norview Ave (Exit 279) about the same time that they had opened one lane.


Land dispute ensues over construction of new U.S. 17
July 28, 2004

CHESAPEAKE - Twin two-lane segments of the new U.S. 17 stretch flat and black through tasseled corn and green soybeans. The asphalt looks surreal without painted lines or signs or guardrails, as if this wide ribbon dropped suddenly into the fields.

Cars won't begin rolling on the new U.S. 17, which curves east of the existing 17, until November 2005. But even then, the Virginia Department of Transportation may still be battling the owners of the surrounding land over what constitutes fair compensation.

VDOT officials took strips of land for rights of way and easements on 40 different properties for the new U.S. 17. In government projects like these, landowners don't usually have the option not to sell; they can only accept or challenge the amount they're paid .

Rest of the article is at

The controversy seems to stem from some landowners along the corridor who A) will have landlocked parcels as a result of the project, and B) think VDOT should pay for the land based on its potential for development, instead of its market value. One landowner in particular, that the article focuses on, was offered roughly $367K, but is seeking over $3 million.


Tedious trek to Chincoteague continues as town awaits divisive bridge
By ANDREA UHDE, The Virginian-Pilot
July 26, 2004

CHINCOTEAGUE - When Bob Potter makes the trip to his downtown barber shop each morning, he often takes precautions: He unlocks the doors, rolls down the windows and snaps back the seat belt.  Just in case.

To get to the tiny island from his home, Potter has to cross the only portal to the city, two bridges notorious for their deteriorating condition.

When traffic is thick, he sometimes worries that the constant weight will cause one of the bridges to collapse.

"There's a lot of tide that's been underneath that bridge," said Potter, 52 , who has been clipping and combing in his Main Street shop for 23 years. "It's pretty crumbly."

Rest of the article is at

The article talks about the existing VA 175 bridges across Chincoteague Channel and the Black Narrows, their poor condition, and the local controversy behind the routing of a planned replacement to the north, currently under ROW acquisition.


New traffic patterns to begin on I-64 west near Coliseum
By TOM HOLDEN, The Virginian-Pilot
July 21, 2004

HAMPTON - The region's most annoying stretch of interstate - I-64 near the Coliseum - is about to offer new challenges to the thousands who daily navigate its endless rows of orange barrels.

Starting July 27, all westbound traffic will shift to a new alignment and, for the first time, motorists will have the option of using a temporary "express lane" if they are passing through the area.

The switch is considered a milestone in the huge project because it also includes opening eastbound lanes that have been off limits as work progressed.

Motorists also will find changes to the various ramps leading off what is broadly known at the Coliseum Central Highway Improvement Project, a $105 million effort to rebuild the second busiest section of interstate in Hampton Roads - all while keeping traffic moving along.

Only rain, which prevents contractors from laying down pavement markings, could delay the change, said engineers, mindful of forecasts that call for spotty rain throughout the week.

Rest of article is at

The article discusses the changes going on, and the next phase (rebuilding the westbound lanes). Unfortunately, the change did not go over as planned, due in part to over a week of wet weather here in Hampton Roads. VDOT had this release out last week stating that the roadway change will be delayed:


Kempsville intersection fix may help traffic
By MARISA TAYLOR, The Virginian-Pilot
July 20, 2004

At the corner of Princess Anne and Witchduck roads, rush-hour commuters stare at the stop light. The signal flashes from red to green, but no one moves.  The light changes. Cars inch closer to the intersection.

Only after the light turns green a fourth time can a few drivers slip through.

As the major crossing point for 47,000 vehicles a day, the Princess Anne-Witchduck intersection may never be easy to drive through, but a planned $48.5 million widening and realignment is expected to at least speed the flow of traffic.

"Right now, that intersection is an F-minus," said Earl Stanton, a member of the citizens' committee helping the city design the project. "After we're done, we hope to get it up to a C-plus."

In an odd twist, some residents also say the new road will boost efforts to enhance the area's historic character.

The plan calls for moving the intersection 600 feet to the south and straightening out Witchduck, which turns into Kempsville Road south of Princess Anne.

Both roads will be widened from four lanes to six, and dual left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane will be added at the intersection.

Rest of article is at

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