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Local transportation board supports more toll lanes in Hampton Roads

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - In Hampton Roads -- getting from Point A to Point B isn't always that simple. Frequent traffic backups on the interstates ensure that, but VDOT has a plan.

They're called High-Occupancy Toll lanes or 'HOT' lanes along I-64.

Like HOV lanes already in place -- if you have a passenger hot lanes would be free to use, but someone driving alone could also get on -- if they pay a toll. It's an alternative to avoid backups and hopefully lessen congestion in free lanes.

Virginia Deputy Transportation Secretary Grindly Johnson sees drivers taking advantage.

"If you have a reliable, dependable (way) to get there that's a choice you make. You will get in that, you will pay the extra dollar or so," she said.

Thursday in Chesapeake, Johnson and VDOT presented the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization a vision to install 45 miles of HOT lanes on I-64.

Work on Segment 1 -- stretching from I-564-to-I-264 -- is already underway.

The organization, which includes city leaders from across the region, voted to support HOT lanes through Chesapeake -- called Segment 2 -- and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel -- or Segment 3.

A segment on the peninsula is also possible, but how soon will we see HOT lanes show up?

Construction of the Segment 1 HOT lanes is expected to be finished in December of this year. Segment 2 could take another four years to complete.

"That express lane conversion would occur in 2021. The HRBT development would pace the express lanes in that particular section so we're looking at 2024 for that," said James Utterback, a District Administrator for VDOT.

The money collected from local HOT lanes -- by law -- would go right back into the region and Johnson says drivers will always have a choice of whether or not to use them.