You’ve been through it, I know. You’re stuck in a pre-tunnel traffic jam that is the result of nothing but the fact that the tunnel is there. You sit in the traffic for an hour and finally get through the tunnel at a snail’s pace and - nothing. No accidents, no breakdowns, nothing. Just a tunnel.
What is it about tunnels? People don’t even have to get into a tunnel and they start to panic, slowdown and jam up thousands of cars for no reason. I’ve heard claustrophobia blamed but it seems to me if you didn’t like being in the tunnel, you would speed through it, not slow down to breath the fumes.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel through Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel over the last 30 years and noticed no improvement in tunnel traffic - ever. Years ago an additional tunnel (Monitor Merrimac) was built to help alleviate the chronic tunnel traffic. Guess what? The new tunnel gets backed up too.
My biggest complaint about chronic tunnel traffic is that I don’t think traffic engineers can fix the problem. Countless studies have been made with no improvement. Little things like making the tunnel brighter or making it so at least one of the tunnel can be seen at all times are supposed to help but nothing ever does.