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Accidents at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Cause Delays and Misery

My hometown motivates me to work hard for my client and get results.- John Cooper

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Accidents at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Cause Delays and Misery

Accidents at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) occur with an alarming regularity. Congestion and long lines are the norm at this congested I-64 link between Norfolk and Hampton and there have been some terrifying wrecks in recent months.

On Wednesday, the HRBT was closed for more than an hour eastbound when a GMC dump truck blew a tire and hit the wall of the tunnel, causing large amounts of oil and hydraulic fuel to be spilled in the tunnel.

Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved in this crash because the idea of a dump truck being out of control in the HRBT is a truly terrifying one.

Earlier this summer, a multiple vehicle accident in the HRBT caused a fire and resulted in motorists evacuating the tunnel on foot. About 70-80 people were evacuated from the tunnel as it filled with smoke from a car fire. In the aftermath of the wreck about 15 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

The wreck highlights the hazards of Hampton Roads’ bridges and tunnels. If a car fire occurs elsewhere on the interstate, it’s usually on the shoulder and other motorists won’t be harmed by the smoke and fumes. However, a tunnel is a closed environment that can trap drivers.

The worst tunnel accident in history occurred in 1999 under Mont Blanc in France when an inferno engulfed 40 cars and trucks and claimed 35 lives. A subsequent investigation revealed serious inadequacies in the tunnel.

The tunnels in Hampton Roads are not as long as the Mont Blanc tunnel but there are five of them. As well as the HRBT, the Virginia Peninsula, and the Southside are linked by the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel (MMMBT) and Portsmouth and Norfolk are linked by the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels. The longest bridge-tunnel is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel that links Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

When you are driving in these tunnels you should take some precautions. Don’t speed but also make sure not to stop suddenly because the driver behind you may not have time to react. You should never change lanes in a tunnel and don’t do so until you are out of the tunnel and no longer facing a solid line in the road.

If you have been hurt in a wreck in the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel or another tunnel, or elsewhere in Hampton Roads, call our experienced injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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