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Old 09-02-2007, 02:31 AM
 
Location: Atlanta Metro, GA
23 posts, read 116,969 times
Reputation: 22

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Okay, this baffles the living s**t out of me every time I encounter it, and I'm hoping someone can give me a reasonable answer. What the hell is it that causes traffic to back up every damn day at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel? I've been here for two years and I have yet to figure it out. Any inputs will help...I'm sure they'll be more humorous than anything, but what the hell. Go ahead, Hampton Roads-Tidewater Metro Area (America's First Region!...), and bare your souls!!
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:57 AM
 
2,179 posts, read 6,843,972 times
Reputation: 1710
i am just guessing that people tend to have a fear of enclosed places and slow down to a near crawl when driving through it,plus worrying about hitting the walls. i always tell my wife i think its leaking when we drive through....this doesn't help traffic any but it gives me a good chuckle!
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 8,256,586 times
Reputation: 816
You take 3 or 4 lanes of fast moving traffic, having to squeeze into the 2 lanes of tunnel traffic. Bottleneck!!

Oh, and the boneheads that don't plan thier gas needs accordingly and run out of gas : )

Shelly
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Atlanta Metro, GA
23 posts, read 116,969 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shellytc View Post
You take 3 or 4 lanes of fast moving traffic, having to squeeze into the 2 lanes of tunnel traffic. Bottleneck!!

Oh, and the boneheads that don't plan thier gas needs accordingly and run out of gas : )

Shelly
Well, I considered the bottleneck concept the first time I got here. I wondered why such a major freeway went from four lanes to two in a highly developed area, so I too thought that was the main contributing factor. After spending enough time on the roads, I began to notice a trend. First, on I-64 coming from Hampton, the number of travel lanes is reduced from three to two at the Settler's Landing overpass (or: where the bottleneck begins). That's about a mile away from the entrance of the tunnel. Around the early afternoon time frame (1:00-2:00 pm), a small amount of traffic has begun to accumulate at the tunnel entrance. After about fifteen minutes the traffic is backed up all the way to the end of the bridge. Another 15 minutes and it's at the Mallory Street exit. Fifteen more minutes, and it reaches that infamous sign that reads a certain phrase. Travelers who cross it at 5:00 in the evening are more than aware of what it is portraying when they see it..."CONGESTION AHEAD...BE ALERT." But what about the bottleneck? According to my timeline, traffic hasn't even come close to the bottleneck yet. Meanwhile, at the "bottleneck," traffic is still flowing smoothly. The motorists, however, once past the merge and over Settler's Landing Road, anticipate the sea of brake lights they will encounter once they round the bend...and the next thing you know you hear this infamous report on 610 AM..."On Interstate 64, at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, eastbound traffic, from Hampton to Norfolk, is backed up four and a half miles to the 64 and 664 interchange. Expect a twenty to thirty minute delay." Now, as for westbound traffic, the same concept applies, except the bottleneck occurs five miles away at 564 and Granby Street. Now, I fully understand the traffic issues at the Downtown and Midtown tunnels...that's just a lot of merging traffic coming from many different routes. THOSE are bottlenecks. Every once in a while, the Monitor-Merrimack gets a little *ugh*, and when it does it's the same thing like on the HRBT...the bottleneck actually occurs miles away from the tunnel.

So, based on all of that, your bottleneck theory, although much appreciated, doesn't add up. Congestion begins at the tunnel long before traffic congestion occurs at the two bottlenecks on I-64.
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Atlanta Metro, GA
23 posts, read 116,969 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by htlong View Post
i am just guessing that people tend to have a fear of enclosed places and slow down to a near crawl when driving through it,plus worrying about hitting the walls. i always tell my wife i think its leaking when we drive through....this doesn't help traffic any but it gives me a good chuckle!
Well, as far as I know, you are partially right. Natural claustrophobia, I've heard, sets in when people drive through tunnels. But, that doesn't make much sense to me. Why in the hell would anyone want to further prolong their feelings of fear by slowing down and keeping themselves surrounded by what is scaring the crap out of them? If I'm scared of something and I still need to encounter it, I get done with it as soon as possible, so if I were scared of tunnels, the last thing I would do would be to slow down while driving through them.

Also a good thought, but still not quite cutting it. Come on, I know someone knows the REAL reason why tunnel traffic sucks so badly!!!
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Chesapeake, VA
177 posts, read 610,525 times
Reputation: 54
As one who goes through the Monitor-Merrimac tunnel 2x a day, I notice that traffic really gets bad the day after school lets out around here until they go back.

Also, folks drive 55+ mph until they hit the tunnels and then slow down for whatever reason, which causes a ripple effect.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:36 PM
 
150 posts, read 536,035 times
Reputation: 53
Please guys. Im down in Houston Texas and Im sure that kinda traffic youre talking about is Sunday morning traffic here. Be thankful its flowing. On I-10 here in Houston, traffic is backed up from around downtown area to the far west area, a good 20 miles, bumper to bumper.... its also known as the worlds longest "parking lot" if you get the idea. I will soon next year be riding the Chesapeake bay bridge tunnel.... or is that one different then what youre talking about??
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Old 09-02-2007, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Atlanta Metro, GA
23 posts, read 116,969 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PChildres View Post
Please guys. Im down in Houston Texas and Im sure that kinda traffic youre talking about is Sunday morning traffic here. Be thankful its flowing. On I-10 here in Houston, traffic is backed up from around downtown area to the far west area, a good 20 miles, bumper to bumper.... its also known as the worlds longest "parking lot" if you get the idea. I will soon next year be riding the Chesapeake bay bridge tunnel.... or is that one different then what youre talking about??
First of all, I extend warm greetings to a fellow Texan...PChildres, thank you for your input...and to answer your question, no I am not talking about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was at one point in time listed as one of the engineering wonders of the world. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (the bridge-tunnel complex of which I speak) was never really considered an engineering marvel. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is traveled nowhere near as much as the HRBT. Now, I believe every word you say about Houston traffic. I was born and raised in San Angelo (about three and a half hours northwest of San Antonio, if you were unaware of San Angelo's whereabouts), and my family and I have been to Houston a number of times. Other than personal experiences with Houston traffic, I have heard a number of recent traffic horror stories in Houston. It also doesn't help that Houston is home to one of the nation's top ten worst traffic traps (the Interstate 10-610 interchange). So I feel your pain...maybe not as much as you do, but I have personally experienced what you currently experience. However, cities like Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta are burgeoning metropolises. People from all over the world are flocking to these cities seeking great jobs, cheap housing (the main exception there would be Los Angeles), and the easy opportunity to realize the American dream, so hellish traffic in those cities is just something that comes with the territory and is easily understood. As for this area...I can't recall ever reading, witnessing or hearing about the great and plentiful opportunities the Hampton Roads region provides (because, in my opinion, it doesn't). Furthermore, the population for the local metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is just a little over 1.7 million...the city of Houston alone has a population of just over 2.1 million (in terms of population, it is the nation's fourth largest behind NYC, LA, and Chi-Town), and its MSA is home to 5.5 million residents. So, how does an area so small (in comparison to other metro areas) have such confusing traffic? The traffic isn't bad...it just shouldn't happen for an area this size. And if it does happen, then it shouldn't be as exaggerated as it currently is. And the traffic doesn't really flow...it has epileptic seizures. It comes to a dead stop, then it gets up to about 40-50 mph, and after you do that for about three seconds you come to a complete stop again, then you lather, rinse, and repeat until the end of the tunnel.

So, I ask the question once more...what makes traffic at the HRBT so mind-boggling?
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Old 09-02-2007, 11:16 PM
 
Location: Atlanta Metro, GA
23 posts, read 116,969 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAllGood View Post
As one who goes through the Monitor-Merrimac tunnel 2x a day, I notice that traffic really gets bad the day after school lets out around here until they go back.

Also, folks drive 55+ mph until they hit the tunnels and then slow down for whatever reason, which causes a ripple effect.
Aha!! We've got one!! MrAllGood, thank you for your keen powers of observation, and thank you even more for mentioning what others were completely unaware of. The ripple effect theory...one person slows down "for whatever reason" and then the person behind that, and so and so and so on. Once a greater number of vehicles traverse the area freeways, the effect is what we witness every weekday in this area from 6 AM to 9 AM and from 2 PM to 6 PM. Very well said, MrAllGood, and thank you for your contribution.

Now, here's the next question: Note how MrAllGood mentioned the tendency for traffic to slow down "for whatever reason." What is that reason? Why do you personally slow down in the tunnels? Do you even know that you are slowing down and impeding the flow of traffic? Everyone who responds from this point on should be able to list a perfectly good reason as to why they make it a point to reduce their traveling speed below the 55 mph limit signs in the tunnels specifically say to maintain. Once again, MrAllGood, thanks for your answer.
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:29 PM
 
150 posts, read 536,035 times
Reputation: 53
Hmmm, I cant recall a HRBT. What does this actually connect to one another?
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