It's pretty safe to say no one wants to dish out extra money while driving on state roads, but what if an extra toll could help alleviate congestion? Right now, VDOT is seeking the public's input on a plan to widen lanes along I-64 between Hampton and Richmond.
Stop and go traffic can be a driver's worst nightmare when you're just trying to make it from point A to point B.
"I come here Friday night and it's bad," says driver Nancy Long.
She's not alone. Lee Kirkpatrick drives from Williamsburg to Richmond once a week and often uses I-64.
"I rarely make it to Richmond without a backup somewhere along the line…it's unpredictable," he said.
State officials realize that and are considering widening 75 miles of the interstate from Richmond to Hampton and it means you could have to pay extra tolls.
"I just came across 895 and paid that toll. I don't want to pay another to get to Tidewater," said driver Beverly Walters.
"That means I have to stop and pay a toll. Just an inconvenience," said driver Nancy Long.
Another proposal creates an optional toll lane for drivers who want to bypass congested non-toll lanes.
Long likes that idea better.
"I have an EZ pass. I have one now and I use it when I go to the Bay Bridge, through three tolls to go to New Jersey," she said.
Another dynamic the state would have to consider is whether to widen lanes from the outside of the highway or from the median. In that case, it could avoid the loss of scenery. So the state conducted an environmental impact study and admits there are some kinks it would have to resolve to make the widening project possible.
In the meantime, to toll or not to toll is the major question at hand.
"I think money can be spent elsewhere on the roads," Walters said.
But Kirkpatrick says he'll dish out the change if it'll make his weekly commute less of a hassle.
"We've got to pay for it somehow and I'll be willing to pay for it if it's going to solve the problem," he said.
VDOT will have a series of public forums across the state beginning next month so that you can weigh in.
The Richmond forum will be held December 13 from 5pm until 8pm at VDOT's auditorium on 1221 East Broad Street.
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