Chesapeake lifts highway tolls ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) - Chesapeake is making northbound travel easier for visitors leaving North Carolina as Hurricane Irene approaches.

Northbound tolls on the Chesapeake Expressway will be lifted at 8 a.m. Thursday. Resumption of the tolls will be determined after Irene passes.

The city says in a news release that the decision is in support of evacuations ordered by Dare County, N.C. The evacuations are to start Thursday.

The expressway connects Interstate 64 in Virginia to North Carolina and the Outer Banks.

A hurricane watch was issued early Thursday for much of the North Carolina coast. Irene could hit the Outer Banks on Saturday afternoon with winds around 115 mph (185 kph).