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Early Sunday Morning should be a STARS fest

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The state will practice the reversal of traffic lanes on I-64 from Richmond to the Peninsula. Numerous agencies are participating. This event should make for some interesting/informative mointoring of various STARS talkgroups.

Here is the article:
http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2008-05-06-0183.html

Lane reversal on I-64 planned for Sunday morning

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 12:41 PM Updated: 03:57 PM


RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's emergency officials will practice reversing eastbound traffic on Interstate 64 Sunday in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.

In the event of a major hurricane or other disaster, the governor can order an interstate lane reversal to help quickly evacuate the congested Hampton Roads area, a region with limited inland routes.

Eastbound traffic on I-64 between the Interstate 295 interchange in Richmond to just east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel will be closed from 5 to 7 a.m. Sunday.

Virginia State Police and National Guard troops will help the Virginia Department of Transportation and the state Department of Emergency Management close hurricane gates at 36 interchanges along the 72-mile corridor for the exercise.

No actual westbound traffic will be sent into eastbound lanes, but eastbound traffic will be rerouted.

"We want to make sure that all of our crews with all of those state agencies have some experience in conducting this type of operation in case this coming hurricane season or another event would prompt a governor's declared lane reversal," Jeff Caldwell, a VDOT spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday.

Caldwell said authorities anticipate it would take about three hours to close the gates and ensure the eastbound lanes were cleared before reversing traffic in the event of an actual emergency.

Officials first close all on-ramps onto the eastbound lanes, then allow time for those already traveling inside the closed area to clear the interstate. Traffic approaching the closed portions will be rerouted.

Crews sweep the lanes by car to ensure that all eastbound traffic has been cleared from the lanes and then close all the off-ramps.

"We need to make sure before we turn traffic in a reverse direction that any disabled vehicles or any motorists that were in the corridor heading eastbound were cleared out so that any traffic that is reversed does not pose a safety issue," Caldwell said.

In the event of a lane reversal, two exits — 234 at Williamsburg and 205 in Bottoms Bridge — would remain open for gas, food, lodging and other needs.

The practice was planned for a period when the fewest motorists use I-64. Officials said fewer than 1,000 vehicles normally use that stretch of the interstate during those early Sunday morning hours.

This is the second practice run for the agencies. The first was held last May.

Officials have never reversed traffic for an emergency.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November.
 
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This is part of the news release I got:

Exercise Details
· 5 a.m.—The exercise begins with the closure of I-64 east at the I-295 interchange (Exit 200). All on-ramps onto I-64 east between I-295 near Richmond (Exit 200) and the east side of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (Exit 272) will be closed.
· Motorists traveling east on I-64 approaching the I-295 interchange and those traveling on I-295 wishing to use I-64 east will be detoured using I-295 south to Route 60 or Route 5.
· Motorists already traveling east on I-64 east of the I-295 interchange will continue to use the highway. However, no additional motorists will be able to enter I-64 east in the exercise area between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
· 5:45 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. — State Police, VDOT and National Guard personnel will confirm that all gates have been closed. Crews will “sweep” the lanes by car between Exit 200 and Exit 234 to simulate how emergency responders will ensure that all eastbound traffic has been cleared from the lanes before traffic is reversed.
· 6:05 a.m. — All I-64 east off-ramps from Exit 234 to Exit 272 will be closed.
· During a real-world event, westbound traffic would then travel on both sides of the interstate to speed the evacuation. For the exercise, westbound traffic will not actually be diverted onto the eastbound lanes. Drivers on I-64 west will not be impacted by the exercise.
· 7 a.m. — All lanes and ramps will reopen.
 
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TG 6123 (Interops) was used for the shutdown of I-64 Eastbound. The major activity began at 4:34 AM and continued to 07:11 AM. Trooper were posted at each on ramp and were designated by their mile post location. I set up the computer to record and log STARS through the Williamsburg tower. I'm reviewing the data and will post any items of interest.

VDOT used TG 5029 (Operations) to coordinate their side of the closure.
 
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Prior to the initiation of the shutdown operation, at 01:30 AM, a VSP trooper had a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation on I-664 when another vehicle struck the trooper's vehicle and left the scene heading North on I-664 into Newport News. After a brief pursuit, the trooper stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver for DWI. Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was limited to the side mirror of the trooper's car. He's lucky, things could have been a lot worse.
 
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With the exception of a few VDOT transmissions on TG 5029, and a bunch on Interops, I did not hear any other shutdown related TG's. In listening to the conversation, Virginia National Guard units were at the shutdown points. However, since I was set up to monitor only STARS, I could not "scan" or use close call to try and identify and monitor any National Guard frequencies.

With few exceptions, things went according to the schedule as set forth in Don Burke's post.
 
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richrowl

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Chesterfield Co Virginia
#6
I-64 Hurricane drill

The Sunday morning hurricane evacuation drill with I-64 lane closure from milepost 200 thru 272 seemed to go very well this morning, with little to no problems. One disabled vehicle waiting for AAA was the only thing I caught on the eastbound lanes from Richmond to the Norfolk end of the Hampton Roads Tunnel when the vehicle traffic sweep was made. No westbound traffic was actually diverted to the eastbound lanes. Suprisingly there was no traffic on the published VDEM / EOC STARS talkgroups. VSP troopers were in charge of the ramps, referred to as posts. All posts matched the Interstate exit numbers.

STARS traffic was as follows:

5029 VDOT Command (supervisory units)
6123 VSP Command Post (STARS Interop-1)
6124 VDOT Command Post (STARS Mutual-1)
6125 EOC Command Post (STARS MComm 1-A)

VDOT 47.44 [136.5] came up with a report of broken welds on a hinge, probably related to the drill.

Post roll calls by the VSP Command Post were in line with the Interstate exit numbers from exit 200 thru exit 272. The drill began shortly after 5am and at 7am it was confirmed the Interstate is open. At 7:05am the VSP Command Post instructed all posts to switch back to normal channels.
 
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