Port Authority asks for extended travel hours for trucks on Hampton Blvd.

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by Ashley Smith, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 5:24 PM

NORFOLK-- About 44,000 vehicles take Hampton Boulevard every day, and about four or five percent of those are tractor trailers.

Most of these large trucks show up during peak hours, which can take a major toll on the afternoon commute.

“It's a pain, especially around the military base,” said Norfolk driver Amanda Small.

“The traffic's completely ridiculous,” said Norfolk driver Vincent Sclafani. “Some days, you're just stuck behind 18-wheelers all day long, trying to get to work.”

To help combat this congestion, a ban prohibits large trucks on Hampton Boulevard after 4 p.m. But that puts a strain on businesses that transport large containers on a daily basis.

The Virginia Port Authority is asking Norfolk City Council to extend travel hours for trucks on the boulevard to 7 p.m.

“When you're stuck at a light and you're waiting and there's ten 18-wheelers in a row, and you're waiting to, you know, just get through the light, you know, sometimes you go through two, three light cycles without even getting through a light,” Sclafani said.

But does a longer time for haulers on the boulevard really translate into better traffic flow?

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim says it’s up to the Virginia Port Authority to prove that.

“I've asked the Port to make the case,” Fraim said. “You know, to provide us with the evidence and with the facts and then we'll see if the logic, if we can support.”

Mayor Fraim agrees something needs to be done to cut down on rush hour jams on Hampton Boulevard, but he wants to be sure that this is the best-case scenario.

“If it doesn't make sense, it won't make sense for the citizens. It won't make sense for the Port and we won't do it,” Mayor Fraim said.

Norfolk City Council was briefed on the proposal at their regular meeting on Tuesday. Members were told they would soon receive an ordinance for consideration.
 

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