Dennis Heuer, the
Reached by telephone at VDOT's
"He was told to concentrate on coming up with a plan of action," she said, in reference to ongoing efforts to develop a new work schedule for maintenance projects at the
"They're looking at hourly (traffic) counts (at Hampton Roads harbor crossings) and are entrenched in hammering it out," she said.
Prior to last weekend's debacle, eastbound closures at the HRBT were scheduled for the weekends of September 14, 21 and 28 (rain date) from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Southbound closures at the JRB were scheduled for consecutive weekends from Sept. 14 to Oct. 12. Once that work is completed, northbound lane closures were scheduled for four additional weekends.
Hansen said a press conference is going to be held late Friday morning in Virginia Beach or
Last weekend, VDOT simultaneously closed the HRBT's eastbound lanes and the JRB's southbound lanes to conduct paving and replace a metal bridge deck, respectively. Last week, VDOT officials said they did not believe the closures at two of the regions three harbor crossings would have a tremendous impact on access from the Peninsula to south Hampton Roads.
As it turned out, VDOT couldn't have been more wrong.
By mid-afternoon Saturday, congestion was snaking for miles down Interstate 664 and affecting surface streets in
Early Sunday, VDOT reopened the closed lanes of the HRBT and JRB saying it was because crews worked "aggressively" and were able to get the weekend's scheduled work done early.
On Monday, Charlie Kilpatrick, VDOT's deputy commissioner, said both projects would be suspended temporarily while a review takes place and a new work schedule developed. He said VDOT policy had been changed and multiple closures at harbor crossings will not happen again.
Heuer was roundly derided by many Hampton Roads residents following a lengthy statement he issued Saturday evening that was considered defensive and unapologetic in tone. In the statement Heuer noted motorists had been warned about the closures and potential backups well in advance.
"The statement wasn't meant in the way it is being interpreted," Hansen said. "We tried to address what was being thrown at us. That was probably a mistake. We were trying to answer too many questions too quick. We were getting inundated."