Help navigating the region
The Virginia Department of Transportation offers a smart phone app with updated information about traffic on the state's interstates and highways. The free app is available through app stores or at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp#app. The region's transit system, Hampton Roads Transit, is developing an app and hopes to launch it soon.
HRT regularly posts updates on its Facebook page, including alerts about route changes and delays. Both VDOT and HRT use Twitter: HRT is @gohrt and VDOT is @VaDOT.
For additional "real-time" traffic information, visit the VDOT http://www.va511.org webpage and the Daily Press traffic page, http://www.dailypress.com/news/traffic/. You can reach the VDOT traffic information center by cell or land phone by calling 511. VDOT posts traffic advisories on the radio at 1680 AM.
For free mobile traffic alerts, text TRAFFIC to 71593. Share your traffic photos and videos with your neighbors in the region at eyewitness.dailypress.com
Traffic delays are common during the summer on eastbound Interstate 64 at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. If you're heading to Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks, use the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel instead and follow to I-64. Here's another alternative recommended by VDOT crews: If you're traveling east on I-64, take the Mercury Boulevard Exit 263 and cross the bridge. Continue on Route 17 to the I-664 interchange in Suffolk.
Potholes and construction
The region has several construction and repair projects underway, including efforts to fill thousands of potholes created by winter storms. During such work, work zones with unfamiliar traffic patterns pop up all over. "Be alert and eliminate all distractions," according to police and the state transportation department. Also be aware that speeding in a work zone can net a fine of up to $500.
Mopeds and Scooters
The state now requires moped and motorized scooter owners to title and register their vehicles by July. Drivers can use those vehicles on city and county streets, as long as they travel at or under 35 mph and obey traffic laws. Mopeds are not allowed on interstates. Drivers must carry photo ID and wear a helmet with a face shield if the vehicle does not have a windshield. Passengers also must wear helmets. For more information, visit http://www.dmv.state.va.us/vehicles/#moped.html.
E-ZPass is easy
An E-ZPass transponder automatically deducts the toll from your prepaid account so you can zip through toll gates in Virginia and 13 additional states. The Coleman Bridge (connecting York and Gloucester counties), the Chesapeake Expressway (the quick way to get to Nags Head, N.C.), the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the Downtown and Midtown tunnels all charge tolls.
For more information or to sign up for an E-ZPass account, go to http://www.ezpassva.com
Times to avoid
Anyone who spends any time on the Peninsula quickly grasps the reality that the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is a major traffic choke point.
In fact, at 7:15 a.m. you can expect to hit average travel speeds of 17 mph heading eastbound on Interstate 64 in the vicinity of the Settlers Landing Road and Mallory Street exits Hampton. In the afternoon I-64 westbound grinds to a 13-mph crawl in Norfolk heading into the tunnel at about 4:15 p.m. The state now has electronic signs posting delays and estimated travel times, but you will get to your destination more quickly if you use other routes, such as the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel or the James River Bridge.
Renew licenses online
Save a hassle and a $5 fee by renewing your driver's license via the Internet, by phone or by mail. You can also renew vehicle registration online. The $5 fee is added to in-person transactions at local DMV offices. You also can renew vehicle registration online, saving an in-person fee. For more information, visit http://www.dmv.state.va.us.
Take the bus or a ferry
Hampton Roads Transportation, is the region's public bus, ferry and light-rail system. Paddle wheel ferries connect Norfolk and Portsmouth crossing the Elizabeth River. Light-rail operates in Norfolk. Buses run all over the region. For routes, fares and schedules, go to http://www.gohrt.com.
VDOT's Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, which carries passengers and vehicles, is free and runs 24 hours. It crosses the James River and connects Surry and James City counties. For information and schedules, call 1-800-VA-Ferry or search Jamestown-Scotland Ferry at http://www.virginiadot.org.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun