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From 1980 to 2006, traffic in and around Hampton Roads, especially in the Midtown Tunnel increased by 150 percent while the capacity to handle this traffic only grew by 15 percent, according to a new report called “Unlocking Gridlock.”

Millions of dollars have been lost in time and productivity due to the massive traffic jams that occur daily at the Midtown Tunnel, which connects southwest Norfolk to the Northern tip of Portsmouth, Virginia (VA).

A $1.7 billion dollar public-private partnership project is in the works to expand the Midtown Tunnel by two lanes. It would be financed with tolls in the range of $2 to $3 for cars and $6 to $9 for trucks, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

If this project is successful, it could alleviate the congestion and may even reduce the number of car wrecks in Norfolk and Portsmouth. “How so?” you might ask. Well, when some drivers are approaching the tunnel they are not expecting a mile-long backup and are surprised when the traffic suddenly stops in the middle of the road. This can lead to a rear end car accident and other serious wrecks, which winds up creating an even worse traffic jam. It can turn into a nightmare for commuters and residents of both cities.

"When there is an accident or vehicle breakdown in the tunnel, the entire regional network is impacted," Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton wrote in “Unlocking Gridlock.”

Something needs to be done to address this issue and expanding the Midtown Tunnel makes sense.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.


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