VDOT cancels weekend road work, apologizes for problems



Posted on September 17, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 17 at 6:14 PM

NORFOLK -- VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner of Highways Charlie Kilpatrick is apologizing to motorists for weekend traffic backups on 64 and 664.

The Department is now suspending work on both the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the James River Bridge until further notice. Both were scheduled for closures this weekend.

"We shouldn't of done what we did," said Kilpatrick. "We underestimated the impact of multiple closures...we let some folks down this weekend."

The Department says in the future they will not close two major thoroughfares at the same time. 

Kilpatrick says while the opportunity to finish completing the work is shrinking, they will assess the situation and decide how to continue the pavement project. 

They also plan to issue stronger warnings to drivers, alerting them to stay off the interstate unless they have to travel. 

Following the public backlash over traffic nightmares caused by the closing of the HRBT and the James River Bridge for most of the weekend, VDOT issued a statement Sunday evening which took a more defiant tone.

The initial two-page statement explained the work that was done and why it was necessary to do it the way they did, and claimed that the public was adequately warned. 

"We knew the HRBT work would cause impacts that would result in delays...however we had alerted the public that this was a possibility and urged everyone to make adjustments to their plans. We had already waited as long as possible and the work needed to be complted before winter for safety," said the statement. 

Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement to 13News Monday calling the weekend traffic issues "unacceptable" and asking VDOT to conduct a full review of the weekend problems.  

VDOT said the work was originally scheduled for May but was postponed until after Labor Day, adding that scheduling roadwork is complicated by festivals and events held in Hampton Roads.

Click here to read the full VDOT statement.