NewsChannel 3 puts “Reach the Beach” signs to the test

NewsChannel 3 puts “Reach the Beach” signs to the test
Posted at 7:43 PM, May 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-25 19:43:16-04

After months of saving up, most people look forward to their hard-earned summer vacations, but more often than not, the traffic around Hampton Roads doesn't want to cooperate.

“Two years ago, it was horrible,” said Tom Barnes, who drives from Pennsylvania to Virginia Beach every year for Memorial Day.

This time around, though, Barnes and other tourists are getting a little help from big electronic signs all around our region telling them which interstate will help them "Reach the Beach" faster.

“This is the quickest we ever got here,” said Barnes. “The time it took us from the time we saw the sign to the time we got here was right on. It was very similar to my GPS as well.”

“It’s been a time saver--less arguments, and when everyone in the back seat asks ‘When are we going to get there,' you can look at the sign, and say, ‘24 minutes!'’’ said Kathy Boyd, whose family drove in from St. Louis.

With all the hype, NewsChannel 3 just had to see for ourselves if these things really worked, so we started on the Peninsula in Newport News.

The sign near Denbigh Boulevard on I-64 said it would take 44 minutes traveling through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, so we started the clock, doubtful it would take that little time to get to the Beach.

To our surprise, we arrived at our Boardwalk Bureau on 17th street at the Oceanfront in just 44 minutes and 34 seconds—right on the money, according to the “Reach the Beach” signs.

And when the holiday weekend is over, there are even signs for people who are leaving the Beach, trying to get up to the Peninsula.

We discovered the long drive times on the board matched the big backups we saw heading towards the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.

That accuracy means more time having fun, less time in traffic.

“We only have a limited time, and every minute counts,” said Boyd.