Question about I-64 in Virginia, near Williamsburg

The family and I took a trip there earlier this month, and we noticed that many of the highway on-ramps had what looked like railroad-style crossing gates in the up position that, if down, would prevent you from getting on the highway. We never observed them in the down position.

Does anyone know what the purpose of these are? When are they lowered? Is it some sort of traffic-control system? Does it work?


I believe they are for evacuation in the event of a hurricane. If they put barriers on certain ramps in the shore-ward direction, they can change a 2 lane highway in each direction into a 4 lane highway going out, so there won’t be a traffic jam when everyone’s trying to flee from the weather.

But I could be wrong. I’ve wondered about these barriers as well.

I saw these visiting a friend in Wisconsin and he said he’d heard they were installed to keep additional traffic from getting on the highway when there’s an accident or something causing a backup. They don’t have to have officers physically present to divert traffic when they may be needed elsewhere.

Found this cite: link

Around here they are mainly used to prevent people from going on the highway during a bad snowstorm or blizzard.

Yes, **Ludovic **is correct. They are for hurricane evacuations and the egress of those from Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

Link from VDOT

That seems definitive, thanks!

Does anyone know if they enacted this during Hurricane Irene last year?

To my knowledge, no. There was no official evacuation implemented.