It was announced Wednesday that The Port of Virginia is getting federal funding to help reduce truck delays at the port. The Federal Highway Administration is awarding the port $1.5 million for a state-of-the-art truck reservation system, according to 10 On Your Side.
Officials say that this new system would more efficiently move containers in and out of the port in an effort to avoid congestion. The grant is officially called the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD).
This year, ATCMTD funded 10 projects valued at nearly $54 million that that range from advanced real-time traveler information for drivers, public transit riders and freight shippers, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications that will enhance safety and pave the way for autonomous vehicles, and congestion-relieving traffic management systems.
— Virginia Maritime (@VAMaritime) October 5, 2017
Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson commented, “With innovation such as this, we are making it easier for state and local officials to address the growing congestion problems of our nation’s highway system.”
Truckers Report Hours-Long Wait Times At Port of Virginia
There have been previous reports of drivers having to wait hours at The Port of Virginia just to drop off and pick up containers.
One driver, Blake Nixon, stated, “This is a mess. It is killing us. I mean, we are trying to survive, and it’s taking us down.”
The port does have 2 terminals, the Virginia International Gateway Terminal (VIG) and the Norfolk International Terminal (NIT), but the congestion was still backed up for hours.
Nixon added, “It’s every day. Four … five hours every time you come in here … it’s terrible. This is supposed to be the most efficient port. There’s no efficiency here.”
The port also reportedly reeks of urine; drivers that have been waiting for hours do not have access to portable toilets so they are forced to urinate in bottles. To make matters worse, discarded bottles of urine and bags of human feces can be found littering the ground.
Port spokesman Joe Harris told 10 On Your Side that the horrible conditions found at the port can be attributed to high volume and bad weather.
He explained saying, “We are fully aware of the situation that has beset motor carriers trying to serve [Virginia International Gateway] this week. We understand that it is unacceptable to them and it is unacceptable to the Port of Virginia team as well. We are operating with a high sense of urgency to correct the situation.”
Now that the port has received a significant amount of federal funding, a state-of-the-art truck reservation system hopes to make strides towards a more organized port. Drivers should be able to know when and where they will pick up and drop off, and not be left to wait in wonder.
Similarly, in June port officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce the expansion of 22 new lanes for the North Gate Complex at Norfolk International Terminal.
— Virginia Maritime (@VAMaritime) June 26, 2017
Further, Interstate 564 Intermodal Connector is under construction to ease congestion on neighborhood and city roads near the port.