Alternate routes see heavier traffic after tunnel tolls start

The tolls are now in effect at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels, but that doesn`t mean people are ready to start paying them yet.

On traffic cameras this morning, traffic along some of the alternate routes was heavier than usual.

VDOT says during peak travel times, 5-9 a.m. on Monday morning, traffic at the Downtown Tunnel decreased by 22%, which is about 1, 000 cars per hour.

The Gilmerton Bridge had a 57% increase, but VDOT says  this could have been caused by the crashes at the High Rise.

There was a bit of congestion on the High Rise Bridge, but there were two accidents, one in each direction. Without the accidents, VDOT says the traffic there seemed to be the same.

The numbers for the Midtown Tunnel are still being calculated.

VDOT says these numbers are preliminary and they need about three months to get a good read on new traffic trends.

VDOT also released updated numbers for how many EZ pass transponders have been ordered in Hampton Roads.

From November through this past weekend, more than 93,000 purchased the transponders.

That`s about 14,000 more just since Friday.

At one of the EZ pass service centers located on Port Centre Parkway in Portsmouth, a steady stream of people came through to pick one up today.

Some said they procrastinated while others realized just how much money they`ll save with one.

It costs up to three times more if you go through the tunnels without an EZ pass.

“I didn`t realize there was a cheaper price and then my friend laid it all out for me. This is peak, off-peak, alright I think I can save the few extra dollars on that,” said one customer.

Some people say even with the lower EZ pass rate, they have no intention of getting one though, instead, they just plan to avoid the tunnels altogether.