It’s been about two weeks since we’ve been charged to go through the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels in Norfolk.
My first tolled ride was to get to work on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a weekend evening so it was pretty slow although V-DOT crews were inside doing work. Ever since then, I’ve taken mostly the Downtown and I can tell you, traffic is much much lighter. We’ve done the stories on how folks would probably find another route and it seems that’s the case. Andy Fox just did a story on some numbers he got from The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO). Maybe some people didn’t buy an EZ-Pass yet and they’re going the long way in the time being. By the way, if you still have questions about tolls, check out this story Anita Blanton did. Maybe some folks just figured out it would cost the same for the tolls as it does in gas money to take the High Rise Bridge in Chesapeake or another route. So, how have the tolls changed your life? It’s going to cost me about an extra $800 a year to commute to and from work before they raise the prices. I’ve talked to folks who say they really have to follow a strategy for their trips from Portsmouth or Suffolk into Norfolk, Chesapeake or Virginia Beach. One person I talked to actually decided to quit a job he loved teaching classes at a gym in Portsmouth because he’d have to go back and forth a few times a day and it just wasn’t worth the cost. Lucky for him, he got his old job back in Norfolk. I read a letter to the editor in the Virginian-Pilot from a West Ghent resident who was actually happy to be able to get out of his neighborhood now. I can only imagine he’s talking about a change in the extreme backup on Hampton Boulevard that leads to the Midtown Tunnel. One thing I think we all should do while this system is new, check your EZ-Pass accounts. We’ve already reported on some folks who got overcharged.
Elizabeth River Crossings said it was due to a sensor issue. WAVY.com has an entire page dedicated to toll stories. Be sure to check it out. I want to know how the change is affecting you. Please share and drive safely!