Saturday was a traffic nightmare if you needed to get from the Peninsula to the Southside as the geniuses with VDOT decided to close both the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel AND the James River Bridge for the weekend. They eliminated 2 of the 3 crossings then had the gaul to compare it to the ususal backups seen in the busy summer driving season.
VDOT said the repair was scheduled after the tourist season but loacalities push hard to extend the season into the Fall. Virginia Beach hosted the Ocean Air show and had multpile festivals at the Oceanfront. Also, what a great time to travel to the Outer Banks!
The cherry on top was when on Saturday afternoon, the Monitor Merrimac Tunnel, the only available crossing, was closed because of a car fire in the tube. Really, who would think that afer hours of stop-an-go traffic, a older car might just break down or catch on fire?!!
The state is borrowing $3 billion in state and federal funds on top of their normal annual spending for transportation, and we'll be paying this back for years. We should be setting smart priorities, but instead, VDOT is:It's not surprising Bob McDonnell's pandering to developers - he's gotten more than $5 million in campaign cash from developers, real estate & construction, by a wide margin his biggest source of private sector contributions. The Coalition for Smarter Growth has a 10-step transportation agenda for Northern Virginia - really radical stuff, like "Bring our local elected officials back to the table in transportation decision making."
Meanwhile, when asked to help fund critical Tysons Corner transportation needs, the Examiner reports that "Virginia's Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton warned Fairfax to look elsewhere for cash."
- Reviving the controversial Outer Beltway through historic landscapes at Manassas Battlefield -- the first ten miles of which could cost $250 million to $475 million -- instead of focusing on fixing existing commuter routes in Northern Virginia.
- Shifting $200 million in statewide money to a bypass in Charlottesville that won't fix major local traffic problems.
- Giving $750 million of our tax dollars to subsidize a private toll road (Route 460) through empty farmland southeast of Richmond.
Tell Gov. McDonnell to put our transportation dollars towards real solutions.
This should concern Hampton Roads evacuation planners: the chaos of a more chronic weather event such as a hurricane will not be mediated by the VDOT system. A two hour storm rendered it ineffective. The low power transmitters used by VDOT are simply insufficient (actually, even during "good" weather). Yesterday, the transmissions were completely overwhelmed by the atmospheric conditions. And the signs...well you can see how helpful. This one is near Williamsburg at the end of the storm, but was typical of the entire system before, during and after. The only thing missing were HOV reversible control and exit ramp gates raising and lowering on their own.
But I understand. We probably need to sell off the ABC Stores before we can fix this.