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Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Accidents

  • Driving over bridges and through tunnels often makes drivers nervous, which can lead to potential accidents if they become anxious or distracted.
  • The Hampton Roads area is a particularly high traffic-prone area due to residential traffic/commutes, military installations, businesses, and summer tourists.
  • The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel solved some traffic issues but is now undergoing major construction to mitigate traffic and safety issues.
  • Working with an experienced and knowledgeable Hampton Roads attorney after a car accident can help you recover the compensation you need to heal.

Driving on a bridge that goes underwater can often make drivers nervous. Speeding, lack of attention, or recklessness can quickly cause an accident in the tunnel. While these accidents are often rear-end crashes, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t injuries or damage.

Traffic can also cause a small accident to be significant if it becomes a multi-vehicle auto accident. If you or a loved one was injured from an accident driving on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT), the CBBT (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), or the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge, consider hiring an experienced Virginia car accident attorney at Montagna Law.

History of the HRBT

Being in coastal Virginia, the Hampton Roads area needs numerous roadways to cross over or under the water. Originally, a ferry service was actually there in place of the tunnel to help people get from one side to the other, but over the years, the seven sister cities has grown as a community in both size and commerce.

The 3.5-mile-long HRBT was built in 1957 and was a major milestone in transportation to replace the previously existing ferry service offered to the cities of Hampton Roads. This bridge is unique because there was a need to construct and connect two artificial islands to anchor the tunnels. The HRBT is heavily used by its 1.7 million population, but this number can surge, especially during peak summer traffic.

Currently, the HRBT is set for a massive expansion as directed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The HRBT Expansion Project will bring many more motorists through the area, including two new tunnels. The idea is for the new bridge to alleviate current multiple-mile traffic backups around Interstate 64, improve safety, and create a smoother commute/travel experience. Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2025.

New Traffic Route for East-Bound Traffic

Due to the new Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion project, there was a major traffic shift for vehicles traveling eastbound. This latest shift is likely to cause more accidents due to driver inattention. Unfortunately, many motorists will likely either miss or ignore signage in the area, including the I-64 corridor and how other vehicles are moving, leading to increased risks of crashes.

Related Article: Signs of Danger: Auto Accidents and Construction Negligence

Why Are There So Many Accidents on the HRBT?

Every month, the HRBT sees a considerable level of traffic, about three million drivers per month. During the busy summer tourist season, it can surge to 100,000 motor vehicles daily.

Due to this sheer amount of drivers, the narrow space, and the fact it is a bridge that goes over and under water can lead to driver anxiety. Unfortunately, the HRBT is one of the most accident-prone stretches of roadway in the region. When crashes occur in confined spaces like tunnels and bridges, the results can be serious.

This is especially true when subsequent crashes pile up after an initial crash happens. Not only are there higher risks of injury, but it creates horrible traffic conditions, which can escalate the situation if motorists unsafely try to navigate through traffic or develop road rage. The situation can quickly worsen if trucks carrying hazardous materials are involved.

Related Article: Why Doesn’t My Settlement Cover My Car Accident Injuries?

How Do I Prove Fault After a Bridge-Tunnel Accident?

Interior view of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel showing a well-lit passage with reflective tiles on the walls. A truck is approaching from the opposite direction, driving through the tunnel, which has a road with clear lane markings and a metal railing along the side.

So let’s talk about what you should do if you happen to find yourself in an accident while driving through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Take a deep breath, because being in a bridge-tunnel accident is stressful, and it’s important to gather as much evidence as you can.

  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Dashcam footage (if available)
  • Photographs of the scene
  • Expert analysis
  • Medical records
  • Damage done to your vehicle

Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you gather evidence and assemble a strong case. Call the police, get to safety and call us next-not the insurance companies.

Related Article: Is Virginia a No-Fault State?

What Type of Compensation Can I Receive After a Car Accident in the Tunnel?

Whether you are in a bridge tunnel accident or a fender bender across our roadways, the Commonwealth of Virginia follows contributory negligence rules. This means that if you are found to be at fault for an accident in any way, you will likely not receive any compensation. If you are found not at fault for an accident, you may be able to recover compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Related Article: Virginia Law: Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence Explained

Why Work With Montagna Law

Receiving compensation after an accident is a journey that involves healing, detailed evidence and the right law firm.  Montagna Law has been serving the Hampton Roads area for several decades. Our clients choose our law firm to represent them because they know our personal injury attorneys will place a priority on their cases and pursue legal solutions that meet their best interests.

When you choose to work with Montagna Law, you can expect to work directly with your attorney. Our legal team will promptly return your phone calls, provide regular updates on your case, and provide full transparency throughout the process.

When you work with Montagna, you will never feel left in the dark. Your needs will set the course of how our attorneys approach your case.


“My experience from beginning to end was extremely smooth. From the sweet voice of Grace to the firm handshake from John, all made me feel secure in knowing that I made the best choice of hiring Montagna Law to represent me. You will not regret their service.” — Constance H.

“Mr. Montagna is an amazing attorney. His legal expertise and dedication exceeded my expectations. Mr. Montagna provided clear, and insightful guidance throughout the entire legal process. His professionalism and accessibility are unmatched in his field. he was very prompt if I had any questions and kept me informed at every stage. I would highly recommend Mr. Montagna to anyone in need of legal representation.” — Tyler.

“My experience with Montagna Law was exceptional. My attorney knew the laws, had a strategy, and executed flawlessly. I was out of the courtroom in 5 minutes. I’ve never seen police be made to shut up so fast. It was an amazing thing to witness.” — Damon G.

Don’t Let a Tunnel Accident Stall the Possibility of Compensation

Last but not least, we hope this article on the lovely roadways of Hampton’s seven sister cities is helpful and keeps you informed. Suffering an accident in a tunnel, such as the HRBT, is scary, but our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys at Montagna Law step in to help. We’ll gather evidence, assemble a case, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, making sure all paperwork is submitted in a timely manner.

If necessary, we will take your case to court. To schedule your free consultation, call Montagna Law at 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form.

Our law firm proudly serves the entire Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Best Time to Drive Through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) on I-64?

To avoid heavy traffic on I-64 and reduce the chances of being in an accident, you should plan to drive in the early morning hours before rush hour or in the late evening hours after rush hour passes.

What Should You Do If You Crash Inside the HRBT?

If you experience an accident while in the HRBT and can move it outside, do so. If you cannot move your vehicle, call the police and seek medical attention.

Who Pays For Any Tunnel Damage After an Accident in the HRBT?

At-fault drivers will likely be sent the bill for any damages caused to the tunnel, as it is city property. In one 2019 case, a driver damaged nine sections of handrails, two internal lights, and numerous spans of wall tiles and was billed $25,000.

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