A contractor for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will be installing gates at I-64 entrance ramps this summer to accelerate an evacuation from Hampton Roads, Va., the channel 13 WVEC news website, www.wvec.com, reported.
The project, which stretches from New Kent County to Norfolk, will cost $2.5 million, the website reported.
The 71 gates are being installed on eastbound I-64 from the I-295 interchange outside of Richmond to the 4th View exit in Norfolk.
During a hurricane evacuation, the eastbound lanes of I-64 will be reversed and become westbound lanes so thousands of residents will be able to evacuate the area, according to the website.
VDOT spokeswoman Sarah Sager said the gates will provide barriers so motorists won’t accidentally get into the eastbound lanes while traffic is moving westbound.
Sager said the project is being done in response to lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Traffic was backed up for miles last summer during the attempted evacuation of residents before the hurricanes slammed into the Gulf Coast.