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Hampton City Council approves red light cameras near I-64 and HRBT

Adding red light cameras will be an attempt to ease traffic congestion near I-64 and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

HAMPTON, Va. — UPDATE: In a meeting on January 25, Hampton City Council voted unanimously to approve this plan. 

 For some, driving in Hampton near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel can be a headache.

“I see a lot of people running red lights, and sometimes they just don’t pay attention,” Gene Wood said.

“I really don’t see a relief in sight until that tunnel is built,” Tamera Rishor, a cab driver, said.

Rishor said during rush hour, she tries to stay away from the downtown area.

“I pretty much try to avoid it and try not to take any jobs in that local Phoebus city,” she said.

Robin McCormick, a city spokesperson, said drivers cutting through Hampton to avoid traffic on I-64 makes it difficult to get around downtown.

“That backup is not fair to our businesses," McCormick said. "It’s not fair to parents picking up their kids after school.”

As work continues on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion, Hampton city leaders are looking for ways to keep interstate backups from clogging city streets.

One possibility is the addition of red-light cameras near the HRBT.

At a city council work session on Wednesday, Public Works Director Jason Mitchell laid out the proposal, saying traffic along Settlers Landing Road would be clearly directed into three lanes:

  • Traffic in the left lane would travel toward Phoebus or I-64 West.
  • Traffic in the right lane would turn right onto the Hampton University Campus or Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
  • For most of the day, traffic in the center lane can enter the I-64 East ramp, but from 3 to 6 p.m., the traffic light will remain red and a red light camera will be put in place to monitor traffic.

Red light cameras would also be placed in other areas near the interstate, including two on Mallory Street: one near Segar Street and the other near the bridge. 

The camera near the bridge would eliminate the need for a police officer to be stationed there every weekday. Those lights would be red for three hours per weekday only, also from 3 to 6 p.m.

Mitchell told city council other areas would be evaluated for the red-light cameras as well, such as parts of Mercury Boulevard near Phoebus, which also experience interstate-related backups.

Images taken by red light cameras would be reviewed, and tickets would be mailed to violators for running a red light. These tickets would not go on anyone's record but do have fines of up to $50.

City Council is also asking the General Assembly to allow the red-light cameras for other uses, such as blocking an intersection or improper right turn, in areas affected by traffic from I-64 until the bridge-tunnel widening is complete.

The proposal is expected to be voted on by the city council at its scheduled meeting on January 25.

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