Some see negative impact of tolls, others see opportunity

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by Eric Kane, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 1:17 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 2:59 PM

SUFFOLK — Some businesses are hoping to capitalize on the new tolls at the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels.

A. Dodsons, a gift and apparel store, has built up a loyal following of customers for nearly 11 years.

As talk of possible tolls at the crossings grew , the company decided to expand its business beyond Bridge Road.

This past October, it opened a new store in Ghent.

Management says the impending tolls factored into its decision to open the location on Colley Avenue so the business could maintain its clientele from Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
"We've always wanted to be in Norfolk,” said Marsha Sanders, a manager at A. Dodsons “Considering that the people living in the Beach will still come out this way and the local community will support us, too."
               
One problem remained.

A handful of the store's workers regularly drive back and forth between the Suffolk and Norfolk locations, which could get expensive come Saturday when tolling begins.

"It'll be a little bit easier now that they've decreased the toll, but to ask them to come over here four or five hours is a lot," Sanders said.
               
The company plans to hire 4 additional sales associates for its Norfolk location.

Some people in Chesapeake also see a something potentially positive coming from the tolls.            
               
Members of the South Norfolk Civic League hope the tolls will help divert much needed traffic to Poindexter Street.
               
"Common sense will tell you, if I'm going to the Downtown Tunnel, and I'm sitting in a backup and paying a toll, I may as well head towards a place that won't have that backup, and that would be the Jordan Bridge," said Kevin Amick, a member of the South Norfolk Civic League.

The league has gone to great lengths trying revitalize the area, and businesses hope more traffic will boost their efforts.

"We're also hoping that when people come down into South Norfolk and they see all the historical houses, maybe it will entice one or two of them to purchase a historical house," Amick said.
 

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