A new law affecting truckers traveling through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia went into effect on Wednesday.
Because the westbound tube of the HRBT is a foot lower than the eastbound tube, tall trucks cause big problems and snarl traffic during rush hour. Before law was passed on Wednesday, truckers only had one choice if they miss the flashing lights and signage warning them to find a different route — to be pulled over by HRBT attendants and pay a hefty fine before being turned around back onto 64 East.
But the new law gives truck drivers a choice — they can either pay the fine and turn around or they can wait on the south island of the HRBT until rush hour is over at 9 a.m or 6 p.m. If drivers choose to wait, they can avoid the fine and points on their license. Since the fine for first-time offenders is $1,000 and $2,500 for second offenses, waiting until rush hours is over may be the lesser of two evils for truck drivers.
The new law is an attempt to relieve congestion on the HRBT. VDOT says that an average of 6 trucks must be turned around every day, making over-height trucks the second biggest cause of delays on the HRBT after disabled vehicles.
VDOT defines rush hour as the time between 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.