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VDOT planning I-64 detours in Hampton, business owners in Phoebus worry about traffic impact

Crews are preparing to demolish parts of the Mallory Street Bridge near the VA Medical Center.

HAMPTON, Va. — Author's note: On Thursday, VDOT clarified a miscommunication, saying there will not be any nightly detours for the week of Oct. 17. The video above is on file from September 2021.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials said crews will eventually demolish parts of the Mallory Street Bridge near the VA Medical Center.

When the construction starts, officials said that means drivers on I-64 east can’t pass under the bridge.

Cars will detour over the bridge, getting off the interstate and then back on at the Mallory Street exit.

They are planning the detour during nighttime hours. 

"As part of the HRBT Expansion Project, the Mallory Street Bridge will be replaced. Crews have shifted traffic to the north side of the bridge in preparation for the controlled demolition of the south portion of the bridge," said a VDOT spokesperson in a statement. 

"While anticipated detours for this construction activity were initially scheduled to begin as early as this week, crews are still preparing for the demolition work. Therefore, there are no active nightly detours planned this week. The HRBT Expansion Project team will provide an update on any expected traffic impacts once details are confirmed for Mallory Street Bridge demolition."

Business owners nearby in Phoebus wonder if the planned detours will impact business. They told 13News Now they are always prepared for traffic because rush hour traffic hits early on East Mellen Street.

“It’s horrible, cars get stuck out here for like an hour,” said Honey House Boutique associate Sydney Cannella.

From around 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cannella said cars heading to Interstate 64 are gridlocked on the street her store sits on.

“No open space, it’s backed up all the way down the street,” Cannella said.

Rush hour doesn’t stop happy hour at Fox Tail Wine Bar.

“What we are finding is a lot of people, instead of sitting in traffic, will pull over and will come enjoy a glass of wine or maybe a half charcuterie board, until things clear up a little bit,” said general manager Paul Honda.

But Cannella said the backups aren’t ideal for shoppers.

"People come down here for peace of mind,” Cannella said. “They love the scenery and the feel of a little small town. But with all the traffic and honking and everything, it’s not peaceful anymore.”

Officials said the purpose of the new bridge is to accommodate the widening of I-64 lanes below. The construction is just a piece of the $4 million HRBT Expansion project.