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Poll

Which would you prefer?

Third Crossing
- 8 (50%)
Widen the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel
- 8 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 16


Author Topic: The Hampton Roads Third Crossing Project  (Read 29458 times)

NE2

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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2014, 08:39:07 PM »

http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/resources/studyhro-crossing-feis.PDF (huge file) includes an alternatives analysis that includes the HRBT and MMBT and the US 460 porkway.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2014, 09:33:20 PM »

Quote
Is it even possible or cheaper to extend the 164 freeway west/north to the James River Bridge and Smithfield Bypass.?
In fact, the full Third Crossing project (which includes the Craney Island Connector, connecting VA 164 to the Third Crossing and widening all of I-664) carries a price about twice that of widening the HRBT and I-64 between I-664/Hampton and I-564/Norfolk.

I have heard the opposite, since from what I read, the HRBT widening project would require a toll on the James River Bridge in addition to the HRBT and MMMBT, while the Third Crossing would only require tolls on the HRBT and MMMBT.  In addition, the HRBT widening project from what I read would require tolls from $4 to $6, while the Third Crossing would only require $2 tolls.

EDIT: Here is the article that I read:
http://hamptonroads.com/2011/01/third-crossing-right-whatever-its-name

It says the Third Crossing would cost $2 billion while the HRBT widening would cost $3.5 billion.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 09:37:14 PM by Pink Jazz »
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2014, 09:51:20 PM »

That $2 billion for the "Third Crossing" is just for the part between I-664 and I-564.  It does nothing with I-664, the MMBT, or the Craney Island Connector.

And as I mentioned above, while it does provide an alternative to the HRBT, all it will really do is create HRBT-style backups at the MMBT, especially Hampton-bound where you have 4 lanes squeezing into 2.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2014, 10:07:12 PM »

That $2 billion for the "Third Crossing" is just for the part between I-664 and I-564.  It does nothing with I-664, the MMBT, or the Craney Island Connector.

And as I mentioned above, while it does provide an alternative to the HRBT, all it will really do is create HRBT-style backups at the MMBT, especially Hampton-bound where you have 4 lanes squeezing into 2.

Did you ever see a cost estimate for adding more capacity at the MMBT?
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2014, 02:20:19 AM »

When I lived in NN, I was active in planning as a citizen.  I recall an old plan to build a freeway along the railroad tracks from 664 at Jefferson to 64 and Bland.  Reviving that would fix a lot of the anticipated problems with 664 through Hampton.

FWIW, if they ever actually build the peninsula light rail, I was the one who successfully pushed the 50th and Warwick station.  The original plan had NO stations between 25th and Warwick and Hilton Village.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2014, 08:56:43 AM »

Quote
Did you ever see a cost estimate for adding more capacity at the MMBT?

The 2001 estimate for the MMBT expansion alone was $700M.  One of the unsolicited PPTA proposals from 2004 had a combined "Patriot's Crossing" (what they call the 664-Hampton Blvd tunnel/connection part) and MMBT expansion cost estimate of $2.5B.  Another of the 2004 PPTA proposals put the cost of MMBT expansion alone at $900M.

Given the cost increases for Patriot's Crossing over the past 10 years, a back-of-the-envelope guess for MMBT expansion is in the neighborhood of $1.5B.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2014, 03:22:41 PM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #57 on: November 16, 2014, 07:14:02 PM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2014, 10:47:32 PM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?
I think they meant making the new tube be reversible, perhaps as an extension of the reversible HOV lanes that run from I-264 to I-564.
 
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #59 on: November 17, 2014, 12:00:49 AM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?
I think they meant making the new tube be reversible, perhaps as an extension of the reversible HOV lanes that run from I-264 to I-564.

If I would guess, a new eastbound tube would actually be built west (the HRBT is actually more north-south in direction, despite being signed east-west) the existing tube and the existing eastbound tube would be converted into a reversible tube.  I don't see how a third tube can fit between the two existing tubes.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #60 on: November 17, 2014, 12:27:22 AM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?
I think they meant making the new tube be reversible, perhaps as an extension of the reversible HOV lanes that run from I-264 to I-564.

If I would guess, a new eastbound tube would actually be built west (the HRBT is actually more north-south in direction, despite being signed east-west) the existing tube and the existing eastbound tube would be converted into a reversible tube.  I don't see how a third tube can fit between the two existing tubes.

Yeah, I do not think there's room for a new tube between the existing ones.

Certainly if the decision to add a new single tube needs to be next to the existing eastbound tube.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #61 on: November 17, 2014, 08:43:09 AM »

All of the design proposals I've seen thus far put any and all additional capacity west of the existing eastbound tube.

Quote
I think they meant making the new tube be reversible, perhaps as an extension of the reversible HOV lanes that run from I-264 to I-564.

Not anymore.  VDOT ruled out adding a single tube a few years ago.  The remaining options on the table are for an 8-lane tunnel and a 10-lane tunnel, with various "managed lane" (HOV or HO/T) options for the 8-lane tunnel.  In all cases, the existing eastbound tunnel would be converted to westbound traffic.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #62 on: November 17, 2014, 01:14:56 PM »


Not anymore.  VDOT ruled out adding a single tube a few years ago.  The remaining options on the table are for an 8-lane tunnel and a 10-lane tunnel, with various "managed lane" (HOV or HO/T) options for the 8-lane tunnel.  In all cases, the existing eastbound tunnel would be converted to westbound traffic.

In addition, I read somewhere that they are considering making the eastbound spans using a high suspension bridge rather than using tunnels.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #63 on: November 17, 2014, 01:38:27 PM »

In addition, I read somewhere that they are considering making the eastbound spans using a high suspension bridge rather than using tunnels.

Wouldn't the Navy veto a crossing that didn't include at least one significant tunnel for each carriageway?  You have so many tunnels in the Hampton Roads area, to make sure the fleet can't be kept in or out of port if a bridge is bombed.

This might not be an issue if the channel were so deep that a downed bridge would not block ships, as I think is the case for the Golden Gate Bridge, but not the Hampton Roads. 
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #64 on: November 17, 2014, 02:53:16 PM »


Not anymore.  VDOT ruled out adding a single tube a few years ago.  The remaining options on the table are for an 8-lane tunnel and a 10-lane tunnel, with various "managed lane" (HOV or HO/T) options for the 8-lane tunnel.  In all cases, the existing eastbound tunnel would be converted to westbound traffic.

In addition, I read somewhere that they are considering making the eastbound spans using a high suspension bridge rather than using tunnels.

Oscar asked the right question.

I do not think the Navy wants any bridge (or bridges) over the navigation channel between its docks in Hampton Roads and the open Atlantic Ocean.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #65 on: November 18, 2014, 06:28:23 AM »

Quote
In addition, I read somewhere that they are considering making the eastbound spans using a high suspension bridge rather than using tunnels.

A high bridge was also ruled out.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #66 on: November 18, 2014, 11:51:52 PM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?

I would make both current tubes westbound; the older tube would be autos only because of the height restrictions and the new current tube would be all vehicles. I would build a new three lane tunnel for the eastbound traffic southwest of the two current tubes with new viaducts connecting to the mainland. The new three lane eastbound viaduct would run to 4th View on the Southside. This would leave the two current viaduct pairs both running westbound. Trucks would not be able to enter I-64 westbound at 4th View or from the west end of the Willoughby Spit since those ramps only lead to the low clearance tube. Obviously, lanes would need to added to I-64 between 4th View and 564.

I realize this is a bit out of the box, but I believe this is the most cost effective solution to adding capacity between the Peninsula and South Side. I lived in Portsmouth for four years last decade, commuted to NOB daily, and often had to go from NOB to Langley for work, so I'm pretty familiar with the issue. The worst backups are traffic going to the Peninsula, so it needs the increased capacity more. This solution also supports temporary closing of tunnels and even the approaches for all maintenance needed, especially if it were done during off peak hours.

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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #67 on: November 19, 2014, 11:07:01 AM »

There would be an incredible amount of additional infrastructure that would be needed for the Third Crossing to be effective, including another pair of tubes at the MMBT. The HRBT could be helped significantly by adding one three-lane tube eastbound with a three lane viaduct to I-564. The non-standard tube could be restricted to autos only and it would allow temporary closures for maintenance.

Are you suggesting that the westbound HRBT capacity (and the one two lane tube) be left as they are?

I would make both current tubes westbound; the older tube would be autos only because of the height restrictions and the new current tube would be all vehicles. I would build a new three lane tunnel for the eastbound traffic southwest of the two current tubes with new viaducts connecting to the mainland. The new three lane eastbound viaduct would run to 4th View on the Southside. This would leave the two current viaduct pairs both running westbound. Trucks would not be able to enter I-64 westbound at 4th View or from the west end of the Willoughby Spit since those ramps only lead to the low clearance tube. Obviously, lanes would need to added to I-64 between 4th View and 564.

I realize this is a bit out of the box, but I believe this is the most cost effective solution to adding capacity between the Peninsula and South Side. I lived in Portsmouth for four years last decade, commuted to NOB daily, and often had to go from NOB to Langley for work, so I'm pretty familiar with the issue. The worst backups are traffic going to the Peninsula, so it needs the increased capacity more. This solution also supports temporary closing of tunnels and even the approaches for all maintenance needed, especially if it were done during off peak hours.

Wonder if Hampton Roads-area motorists are willing to start paying tolls to a PPTA concession holder for the next 60 or 70 years to fund a new tube?

IMO, it was a mistake to have the (very expensive to build, maintain and operate) crossings of Hampton Roads and the James River ever be "free" of tolls (but politically popular). If the tolls had stayed in place on the HRBT and the MMBT, then all of this would be less of a problem.  But now there is an expectation that they will stay "free" forever (consider the angry response from some, and a lawsuit that ultimately failed, that resulted when the Elizabeth River crossings were (re) tolled).
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #68 on: November 19, 2014, 11:18:58 AM »

Quote
Trucks would not be able to enter I-64 westbound at 4th View

The problem with this is that you have two local truck routes (Oceanview Ave and Tidewater Dr) connecting to I-64 at that interchange.  4th View is also far enough away from the HRBT to where any widening of I-64 over Willoughby Spit would basically meld the two existing bridges together, making it easy for trucks getting on there to get into the proper tunnel.

It should be noted that existing study proposals, which also convert the existing eastbound tube for westbound traffic, still allow trucks to get on at 4th View.

As for the issue of number of lanes and traffic congestion...believe it or not, there are actually more eastbound drivers in the morning than westbound drivers in the evening (3655 vs 3380 per 2011 volumes).  The reason why there's more congestion westbound is because of a combination of the lower/narrower westbound tunnel, and stopping overheight trucks to turn them around impacts westbound traffic much more than eastbound.  A 3 lane eastbound tunnel would result in 2040 backups similar to today's backups...which is partially why VDOT dropped the "6-lane" options.

Quote
Wonder if Hampton Roads-area motorists are willing to start paying tolls to a PPTA concession holder for the next 60 or 70 years to fund a new tube?

If the reaction to Downtown/Midtown Tunnel tolls is any indication, the answer is "no".
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #69 on: November 19, 2014, 12:10:43 PM »

Quote
Trucks would not be able to enter I-64 westbound at 4th View

The problem with this is that you have two local truck routes (Oceanview Ave and Tidewater Dr) connecting to I-64 at that interchange.  4th View is also far enough away from the HRBT to where any widening of I-64 over Willoughby Spit would basically meld the two existing bridges together, making it easy for trucks getting on there to get into the proper tunnel.

It should be noted that existing study proposals, which also convert the existing eastbound tube for westbound traffic, still allow trucks to get on at 4th View.

As for the issue of number of lanes and traffic congestion...believe it or not, there are actually more eastbound drivers in the morning than westbound drivers in the evening (3655 vs 3380 per 2011 volumes).  The reason why there's more congestion westbound is because of a combination of the lower/narrower westbound tunnel, and stopping overheight trucks to turn them around impacts westbound traffic much more than eastbound.  A 3 lane eastbound tunnel would result in 2040 backups similar to today's backups...which is partially why VDOT dropped the "6-lane" options.

Do the overheight trucks on westbound I-64 happen that often?

Quote
Wonder if Hampton Roads-area motorists are willing to start paying tolls to a PPTA concession holder for the next 60 or 70 years to fund a new tube?

If the reaction to Downtown/Midtown Tunnel tolls is any indication, the answer is "no".

Which is why de-tolling expensive (to operate and maintain and expand) crossings (even when the original bonds are paid-off) should never be considered (bond-funded toll roads, like the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Expressway can and maybe should be de-tolled, as long as they do not include those expensive bridges and tunnels). 

Having such expensive crossings run by an independent authority, like the CBBT is, is one way to stave-off calls for de-tolling by politicians.  The CBBT's board actually started the process of twinning the trestles in the 1990's (I happened to cross it one day in 1994 or 1995 right as the project was getting started) in part because the outstanding bond balances were starting to approach zero, and had they gone to zero, the crossing would have become "free" and it would have become VDOT's responsibility to operate and maintain.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #70 on: November 19, 2014, 09:20:54 PM »

Quote
Do the overheight trucks on westbound I-64 happen that often?

They used to happen often, but a combination of higher fines and a crackdown dropped the numbers during the 2000s.  As best as I can find for raw numbers:  in the early 2000s (when I first got to Norfolk), they averaged 5 times a day.  That dropped to an average 3 per day by 2005 and 1 per day by 2007.  In 2009, total stoppages at the HRBT were close to 1800 (almost 5 per day), but that number included crashes, stalled vehicles, and other stoppages in addition to overheight trucks.  A 2013 Pilot article suggested that in one month that year there were 382 stoppages just for trucks at the HRBT (over 12 per day!).  I find that number somewhat suspect, but I can't find verification of it one way or the other.
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #71 on: November 19, 2014, 11:31:03 PM »

Quote
Do the overheight trucks on westbound I-64 happen that often?

They used to happen often, but a combination of higher fines and a crackdown dropped the numbers during the 2000s.  As best as I can find for raw numbers:  in the early 2000s (when I first got to Norfolk), they averaged 5 times a day.  That dropped to an average 3 per day by 2005 and 1 per day by 2007.  In 2009, total stoppages at the HRBT were close to 1800 (almost 5 per day), but that number included crashes, stalled vehicles, and other stoppages in addition to overheight trucks.  A 2013 Pilot article suggested that in one month that year there were 382 stoppages just for trucks at the HRBT (over 12 per day!).  I find that number somewhat suspect, but I can't find verification of it one way or the other.
I left Tidewater in 2007 and your numbers sound about right until then. Don't know what it's like today. I just remember when the too-tall trucks snuck through it could cause major damage in the tunnels.

I'm guessing that 382 in one month is for all stoppages, including accidents and stalled cars.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 11:40:43 PM by skluth »
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2014, 07:32:45 AM »

Adding on, the Draft EIS for the HRBT expansion (dated 2012) suggests that the truck stoppages are back up close to a 3-per-day average (the DEIS cites 80 to 90 per month).
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #73 on: November 20, 2014, 09:21:19 AM »

Adding on, the Draft EIS for the HRBT expansion (dated 2012) suggests that the truck stoppages are back up close to a 3-per-day average (the DEIS cites 80 to 90 per month).

Sounds like the fines for using a Wal-Mart GPS unit in a commercial vehicle need to go even higher in Virginia!
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Re: Solving the Hampton Roads/James River Crossing issue
« Reply #74 on: November 20, 2014, 11:56:30 PM »

Quote
Trucks would not be able to enter I-64 westbound at 4th View


I've been thinking about this. There would need to be crossover lanes between the different viaducts to accommodate when tunnels are closed anyway. It would probably be easier to build them on the west end of Willoughby than over water. You'd lose the ability for trucks to go westbound on I-64 from Willoughby, but that's no big loss. Trucks would then be able to get to the full height tunnel, probably with a giant sign stating all trucks must switch lanes.

Trucks would also not be able to exit at the first Hampton exit after the tunnel, but I don't think that would be a major issue either.
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