No clearance problem at Hampton Roads

I read with interest Peter Leach's Oct. 24 article "Up in the air" about the height limitations of bridges at some ports. Though the focus of your article is clear to me, I think it is necessary to mention that many ship lines calling on the U.S. East Coast are using the Port of Virginia because there is no bridge height-channel depth issue to contend with here. Our customers regularly tell us that this port's tunnels - or lack of bridges - the 50-foot-deep channels and the rail connections to the Midwest are at the forefront of their decision to use the Port of Virginia.

In addressing such a problem or issue, it seems only logical to present an alternative or solution. For ship lines, one alternative to the problems outlined in "Up in the air," I believe, is the Port of Virginia.

Specifically, Virginia will not have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to jack up or replace bridges, and our channels are already 50 feet deep. (We are authorized to dredge to 55 feet, and we can do that job cheaper than any port on the U.S. East Coast.) Additionally, we have the largest and fastest cranes in the world.

My concern is that some readers may come away thinking there are few or no alternatives on the U.S. East Coast when it comes to the height issue, though I realize this was not your intent.

J. Robert Bray

Executive director

Virginia Port Authority

Norfolk, Va.