Flooded tunnel will cost port truckers

| 9/25/2003

Hurricane Isabel may be gone, but truckers are still dealing with the storm’s aftermath.

Particularly hard hit are truckers who serve port terminals in the Norfolk, VA, area near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot reported Nov. 24 that the Midtown Tunnel will be closed for at least two more weeks after being flooded by the storm.

The tunnel may be closed even longer, the report said, if it is found to be heavily damaged after the water is removed.

The Midtown Tunnel connects several marine terminals and rail heads and serves as a major trucking route between those locations. Completed in 1962, the tunnel normally carries more than 40,000 vehicles a day, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, all of which must use alternate routes, including the already heavily trafficked Downtown Tunnel, until the water is pumped out.

Truckers who work the ports are paid by the trip, and one local businessman – Charles Rosemond of Richmond, VA-based Wyatt Transfer Inc., told the newspaper that some local drivers could lose 25 percent to 30 percent of their income because they will have to use longer alternative routes. One firm, C&K Trucking, said its 200 daily port moves could be cut in half.