Could Hampton Roads evacuate during a hurricane?

Posted at 10:16 AM, Jul 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-02 17:50:00-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - Is Hampton Roads ready should a hurricane hit our region?

That was the focus of a meeting between state and local leaders held at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach Tuesday.

Governor Terry McAuliffe started the meeting with his concern about whether Hampton Roads could be evacuated during a hurricane.

"I don’t feel comfortable with that. We went through a tabletop exercise with VDEM in May. I had concerns then. We have to evacuated close to 900,000 Virginians and then close to 500,000 folks from North Carolina would also be evacuated," McAuliffe told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.

The Virginia Beach meeting was convened to address the concerns and bring together stakeholders to brainstorm ideas.

After the meeting, Governor McAuliffe received an aerial tour over Hampton Roads to highlight areas that might be problematic during a hurricane.

One thing local leaders have expressed to the Governor is the importance of a new route 460 for evacuations.

That project was suspended in March.

"I’m all in for 460 but let’s be crystal clear: I did suspend what was being done because the 460 that had been worked on was never going to be completed, was never going to be permitted," McAuliffe explained.

Right now the state is considering 5 alternate options for Route 460.

The City of Chesapeake has also told the Governor that early activations of evacuations in North Carolina of the Outer Banks means more people pour into Chesapeake before any evacuations start in Virginia.

In York County, two evacuation routes run through the county: Interstate 64 and Route 17.

"Knowing that many of the locals won’t attempt to get on to 64 because of the heavy traffic we do anticipate a large amount of traffic to be on US Route 17 during an evacuation," Assistant Chief Paul Long told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.