Aug. 12, 2019 — Eastbound I-64 drivers who block traffic on both lanes of Settlers Landing Road downtown will find new traffic controls beginning Monday, Aug. 12. Public Works crews installed traffic cones as lane dividers, designed to keep eastbound I-64 drivers in the right land, rather than blocking all traffic.
While the traffic may be just an irritant to most drivers, it is a safety hazard to first responders. If both lanes are truly at a standstill over the Settlers Landing Road bridge, police and fire and rescue vehicles can’t get through, as there is no shoulder on the bridge.
The measure, which is a test to see how well it controls traffic, will see the beginning of the lane dividers at the foot of the bridge, just after the Eaton Street intersection. After that point, drivers will not be able to switch lanes. The right-hand lane will be the only way to reach Hampton University, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Harbor Apartments and the Harbor Shopping Center, as well as I-64 eastbound, from downtown Hampton. Police, Public Works crews and signs will help reinforce the new traffic pattern.
After the two-week test with traffic cones, the city will seek feedback. If it is deemed successful, poles will be installed.
The traffic has worsened, and officials believe that much of the congestion isn’t caused by people in or near downtown. Instead, drivers sitting in clogged interstate traffic often try to skip ahead by taking other routes and then getting back on the interstate, often guided by traffic apps.
The lane dividers are already up closer to the interest ramp, and today’s work is an expansion of that effort. It follows traffic measures in Phoebus designed to keep interstate drivers from diverting and clogging residential and business/retail areas of the city.