Elizabeth River Tunnels: News and Updates
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August 2014
Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Monthly Update

Travel Impacts

I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

The Downtown Tunnel will remain open to traffic in both directions Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, with construction activities resuming on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
The Downtown Tunnel westbound to Portsmouth closure schedule is as follows:
  • Single lane closures: Wednesday and Thursday, Sept.3-4, from 8 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning.
The Downtown Tunnel eastbound to Norfolk closure schedule is as follows:
  • Full direction closures:
    • Aug. 29-Sept. 1: No scheduled closures
    • Sept. 5-8: No scheduled closures
    • Sept. 12-15: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
    • Sept. 19-21: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
  • Single lane closures: Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 2-4 from 8 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning.
View more information on the Travel Impacts page.

Construction Milestones

Midtown Tunnel Fabrication

Travelers are secured onto Elements 10 and 11 inverts in 
preparation for concrete placement of center walls and doghouses.

Fabrication of tunnel elements 7-11 is progressing on schedule at Sparrows Point. Each concrete reinforced tunnel is fabricated through a total of 15 concrete pours, consisting of five pours for each of the three sections of the tunnel element. To date, 11 inverts, the lower base section of the elements, have been completed. Six center walls, the wall separating the corridor from the roadway section, are complete. Four doghouses, or the outer walls and roof of the element, are also finished. A third traveler formwork, an internal formwork that can be moved on rails to the next doghouse after a doghouse is poured and cured, has been assembled to enable work on three separate elements at once. Elements 7-11 will begin their journey to Hampton Roads to await placement in early spring 2015.

A look at the concrete components of a tunnel element.
Currently Elements 1-6 are moored at Portsmouth Marine Terminal awaiting placement. Concrete is being added to each element to help submerge them in place. Planning and preparation to immerse the first tunnel element and place it under the Elizabeth River is scheduled for later this fall.
Learn more about the construction of the new tunnel on our Midtown Tunnel page.

View photos of the float out of elements one through six and their arrival to Hampton Roads on our Flickr page.

Portsmouth and Norfolk Approaches


The boat section at the Portsmouth approach begins to take shape.

At the Portsmouth approach, five of the seven cut-and-cover section segments are complete. Crews are placing concrete “cut-off” walls on each side of these sections to allow for the removal of the steel piling currently preventing water from the Elizabeth River from flooding the approach. In the boat section, all of the concrete mud mats have been placed to complete the final three inverts.  Twelve of the forty-two walls have been poured.


Work is complete on all of the inverts at the Norfolk Approach. Steel wall construction has begun and concrete will be placed in the next few weeks. Work has also begun on the new storm water pump station adjacent to the boat section. Three mud mats have been placed in the boat section to prepare for additional inverts moving forward.
Marine Work

The excavated material removed from the approaches has been replaced with select material which has been vibro-compacted to provide a solid foundation for the tunnel elements once placed and immersed. The screed barge that will be used for leveling the select support material placed in the bottom of the trench is complete and is undergoing testing. Crews are now preparing for screeding operations, which will begin later this fall.

I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

At the I-264 West Downtown Tunnel, concrete sealer has been applied to the repaired barrier walls for a uniform look throughout the tunnel.
The new LED lighting and lighting controller is fully installed and has been tested. All 16 ceiling jet fans are now energized and are currently undergoing a series of tests before the existing ventilation system is decommissioned. Crews are now wiring the new fire alarm system for the tunnel. New reversible lane signals and dynamic message boards have been installed over the roadway and are wired to the new traffic management system. 
Rehabilitation of the I-264 East Downtown Tunnel continues with support bracket installation for conduit racks and concrete barrier repair. Crews will begin concrete repairs in the ceiling after the Labor Day holiday weekend in preparation for fire proofing installation. As mentioned above in Travel Impacts, the I-264 East Downtown Tunnel will remain open for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
For more information about tunnel rehabilitation, including current closures and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Rehabilitation page.

Martin Luther King Extension

Crews begin construction on the new pedestrian bridge near Frederick Boulevard on I-264.

Work efforts continue on three primary areas of the new MLK Extension: north and south of the I-264 corridor, and the former Harbor Drive corridor from London Boulevard South.
North and south of the I-264 corridor, subcontractors are installing multiple items, primarily installation of drainage features while construction of the main alignment substructure is in full effect. Construction of MSE (mechanically stabilized earth) walls has just begun near the I-264 East Frederick Boulevard off-ramp. Fabrication of the new pedestrian bridge near Frederick Boulevard is almost complete. Production pile driving activities are in progress away from I-264 near the main alignment future flyover.
Utility relocation is complete near Trexler Avenue, allowing barrier wall construction along the realigned roadway. Public utility crews are relocating water and sewer lines out of the alignment along the Harbor Drive corridor between High Street and Turnpike Road.. The section of Harbor Drive between High Street and Turnpike Road is permanently closed. 
The permanent closure of the remainder of Harbor Drive is expected to occur in early fall following the reopening of the US 58 West/London Boulevard South on-ramp. Permanent closure of Harbor Drive is necessary to relocate public utilities and build the new raised roadway that will be built above the existing Harbor Drive corridor as part of the new MLK Extension alignment.
Along the alignment of the new extension, crews continue to drive test piles and production piles for the new roadway.
For more information about work on the MLK Extension, visit the MLK Extension page.

Connect With Us

Project information is available at www.DriveERT.com. For questions or comments, contact us at info@DriveERT.com.

To report an incident or maintenance issue at the Elizabeth River Tunnels, call our 24-hour hotline at 1-855-ERT-ROAD (1-855-378-7623). 

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