CHESAPEAKE, Va. — North Carolinians crossing the Dominion Boulevard Veterans Bridge to get to Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach will begin paying for the privilege starting next week.
Tolling on the 95-foot-high bridge that crosses the Elizabeth River will begin Thursday, Feb. 9 at 12:01 a.m., according to a press release from the Chesapeake, Virginia Department of Public Works.
Tolls will be collected electronically through a toll-by-plate system that uses photographic images of a vehicle’s license plate to identify the motorist responsible for the payment. Motorists will be billed through the mail.
Tolls may also be paid by E-ZPass, the 16-state system that uses a transponder mounted on a vehicle, usually the windshield, to electronically charge the account of the motorist responsible for the payment. The toll cost is deducted from the account.
The toll rate for crossing the bridge will begin at $1 for motorists with an E-ZPass, $3 for those without an E-ZPass. The multi-year toll schedule, showing all vehicle types and sizes, is available at www.DominionBoulevard.com.
Motorists can obtain an E-ZPass online at www.EZPassVA.com, or by calling 1-877-762-7824 . They also can buy one at any Chesapeake City Treasurer’s office, the Chesapeake Expressway Office or at the Norfolk or Portsmouth E-ZPass office.
Motorists who already have an E-ZPass account are urged to make sure their transponder is registered to an account that is funded. Motorists with insufficient funds in their E-ZPass account will be charged the non-E-ZPass rate.
The four-lane Veterans Bridge is part of the $399.4 million Dominion Boulevard Improvement Project, which recently was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, according to Chesapeake officials. The project also included the four-laning of Dominion Boulevard from Grassfield Parkway to Interstate 64 and new interchanges at Cedar Road, Dominion Lakes Boulevard and Great Bridge Boulevard.
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Director Wayne Harris said there are a significant number of people in the area who will be affected by the toll.
“For the people who live here and work up there, it will clearly be an added expense,” he said Tuesday. “But, in terms of the overall value of the bridge to the community, I think tolling it was the only way to get it done.”
Harris believes completion of the Dominion Boulevard improvement project will be a boon for the Pasquotank County Commerce Park located in northern Pasquotank, just off U.S. Highway 17 and U.S. Highway 158. The said the project has made the park minutes closer to the shipping ports in Virginia.
In fact, Harris said his office has begun “very preliminary, very informal talks” with unspecified real estate brokerage firms in the Hampton Roads area about representing the park.