Expansion at Hampton Toll Will Cost a Little More Time
By John Deming, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Thursday, November 11, 2004
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News
[Atlantic News Photo by John Deming]
HAMPTON — The $6 million expansion of the Hampton Toll Plaza at Route 101 began Monday with the closure of one toll booth, in a process that is expected to present minor delays to commuters over the next year.
The booth is expected to reopen in December, at which time work is expected to begin on the next booth in the plaza. The seven booths will be worked one by one — leaving six open toll booths at any given time —until the project's expected completion in September of 2005.
The toll plaza will have eight lanes once the project is completed. It currently has seven, two of which aren't used outside of high-traffic seasons, according to Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Bill Boynton.
The work will have more of an impact on traffic coming off Exit 2 from Route 95 than traffic coming from Route 101, according to Boynton.
According to Boynton, the project came about in response to safety concerns at the toll plaza, particularly concerns about congestion on the Route 101 side.
"I got a lot of calls from people saying 'you've got to do something down here,'" he said. "This is an effort to improve traffic flow and increase safety at that facility."
The project also includes the widening of approaches, which will allow traffic to queue up better, Boynton said. There are also some structural issues included in the contract, as well as the installation of "emergency reference markers" all the way from the Massachusetts state line to the Maine state line, according to Boynton.
Emergency reference markers — which Boynton said will be placed every two-tenths of a mile along the highway — will give motorists their exact location in the event of a breakdown or 911 emergency call.
Boynton said that there will certainly be some delays at the plaza, and that commuters will have to plan for them. "But," said Boynton, "we're going to do what we can to keep traffic moving during the process."