Hurricane Evacuation Guide

Interstate 64 lane reversal exercise - May 20, 2007
Lane-reversal exercise video (WMV, 1:32, 5 MB), transcript PDF (PDF, 98 KB)

Interstate 64 Reversal

When Virginia might reverse the direction of traffic on I-64:

Localities issue standard evacuations for their areas, shown in two phases here. A standard evacuation issued by a city or county does not reverse traffic on Interstate 64.

The direction of traffic on I-64 will only be reversed when ordered by the governor in advance of a storm or other event that threatens the citizens of Hampton Roads.

In a lane reversal, the eastbound lanes of I-64 will be used to carry additional traffic westbound so that all vehicles on the highway are headed toward Richmond.

Click images to enlarge

Available services along reversed lanes  
Available services along reversed lanes

Exit 200 on I-64 during lane reversal
Exit 200 on I-64 during lane reversal

In a Category 3 to Category 5 hurricane, the governor might issue a traffic direction reversal order for I-64 to evacuate citizens more efficiently.

The direction of traffic on I-64 will only be reversed in the most extreme conditions.

Plans call for an I-64 reversal to begin on the Norfolk side of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and end at the Interstate 295 interchange in Richmond. Map

In the event of traffic direction reversal on I-64:

  • I-64 West traffic from Norfolk and Virginia Beach will shift onto what are normally the I-64 East lanes just before the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Norfolk, near Willoughby Spit.

    Motorists will travel on the eastbound lanes until they reach I-295 in Richmond.

    Note: There will be only two possible exits for traffic traveling west in the eastbound lanes between Norfolk and I-295:

    • Exit 234 in Williamsburg, (Route 199) for gas, food, lodging and a hospital

    • Exit 205 in Bottoms Bridge for gas and food

    A comfort station on I-64 near Jefferson Avenue and the rest areas in New Kent County will also be open.

  • No traffic will be allowed to travel east on the interstate during a reversal. All I-64 East lanes and ramps between Norfolk and Richmond will be closed to eastbound traffic, from just east of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to I-295 in Richmond.

  • Motorists should expect some entrance and exit ramps onto the standard I-64 westbound lanes to be closed to smooth traffic flow onto the interstates and prevent bottlenecks.

  • If motorists exit the reversed I-64 lanes at one of the two available locations, they will use a normal entrance ramp to return to I-64 West.

  • On the Peninsula, there are no entrance ramps leading to the reversed I-64 lanes. Peninsula motorists have access to the standard I-64 westbound lanes in an evacuation.

  • I-64 West traffic from Hampton, Newport News and James City County will be able to enter and exit the highway as usual.

During an evacuation, emergency plans call for:

  • Limited emergency motorist assistance, provided by VDOT, on the road or at the safety rest areas and comfort station

  • Wreckers to be on standby along I-64 to move disabled cars and trucks from travel lanes

  • Drinking water to be available at the New Kent rest areas, at the Jefferson Avenue comfort station and at the west Suffolk weigh station on Route 58

I-64 might be reversed for other emergencies at the discretion of the governor.

Once evacuees arrive at the I-295/64 interchange, they will take I-295 North or South or will continue into Richmond on I-64 West.

This will depend on which side of I-64 they are on. See the Exit 200 map for more information. If you evacuate, it is important to decide on a destination before you leave. Try to make arrangements to stay with friends or family, or make reservations at a hotel.

If you must stay at a shelter, remember to bring:

  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Medications
  • Other necessary items

The state has plans to open shelters throughout the commonwealth in the event of an evacuation. Emergency officials will announce locations through the media.

Those evacuating from Hampton Roads can use the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to help find lodging during an evacuation. Call (800) 370-9004 or (804) 782-2777. logo  For information about how to prepare for all types of emergencies, visit


Page last modified: Friday, June 06, 2008