Elizabeth River Tunnels: News and Updates
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April 2015
Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Monthly Update

Travel Impacts

I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

The Downtown Tunnel westbound to Portsmouth closure schedule is as follows:
  • Full direction weeknight closures: No closures scheduled
  • Full direction weekend closures:
    • May 1 and 2: From 8 p.m. each night until 8 a.m. the following morning
    • May 3: From 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning
  • Single lane closures: No closures scheduled
The Downtown Tunnel eastbound to Norfolk closure schedule is as follows:
  • Full direction weekend closures: 
    • May 1-4: No closures scheduled.
  • Single lane closures:  Thursday, April 30 from 8 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning
Visit the Travel Impacts page for more information.

Construction Milestones

Midtown Tunnel Fabrication

Elements 7-11 of the new Midtown Tunnel wait to be placed at the Portsmouth Project site.

Fabrication of the new Midtown Tunnel elements is complete at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Late last month, crews flooded the dry dock for over eight hours in preparation for float out of the final five elements. Elements 7-11 left Sparrows Point one-by-one and made the 200-mile journey down the Chesapeake Bay to the Portsmouth Project site. Element 7 was placed directly in the lay barge (the vessel that lowers the elements in place) upon its arrival from Sparrows Point. The immersion of Element 7 earlier this month completes the element placement work within the Federal Channel.
The team continues to outfit the interiors of each element as they are placed. One of the critical parts is the immersion joint, the connection between the elements. The immersion joint work requires several steps to complete the connection after the element is immersed and the joint is dewatered. First, Omega seals (the secondary seal at each joint) must be placed. Omega seals have been installed and tested in each of the first five immersion joints. The second step is the removal of the bulkheads, the waterproof barriers found at the end of each tunnel element. Ten bulkheads have been removed between the cut-and-cover and through Elements 1-5. Next, cover plates must be installed over the seals to protect them from the concrete that will be poured into each immersion joint. The final step includes the placement of structural steel and concrete in the void between the elements. The first five joints are in various stages of this work. Work on the walls and roof will follow in the process.
In the coming months, crews will continue placing and outfitting the elements, install fire protection boards on the roofs and walls, complete ballast concrete pours, and install permanent electrical and mechanical equipment.

Learn more about the construction of the new tunnel on our Midtown Tunnel page

Norfolk and Portsmouth Approaches

The Norfolk Approach for the new Midtown Tunnel begins to take shape.

In Norfolk, construction continues on the support walls for the tunnel control building atop the cut-and-cover section. In the slot, walls for the boat section and one additional invert are complete. Construction continues on two storm water pump stations. The first station will collect rainwater from the tunnel approach roadway, and the second station will collect drainage and prevent tidal and storm actions from flooding the tunnel approach area.  

The tunnel control building is beginning to take shape atop the cut-and-cover section of the new Midtown Tunnel. This building will house mechanical and electrical equipment providing power, communications, and emergency water for the tunnel. It will also provide access to and from the tunnel egress corridor, which is located next to the roadway.

I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

I-264 West Downtown Tunnel
Work on the I-264 West Downtown Tunnel will resume later this month so crews can replace roadway trench drains and access hatches. After that work is completed, the tunnel will be repaved, signaling the completion of the rehabilitation work in this tunnel.
I-264 East Downtown Tunnel
Rehabilitation of I-264 East Downtown Tunnel continues with the installation of electrical wiring, cameras, air quality monitors, lane use signals, jet fans, and dynamic message signs. The new jet fans will be installed next month. 

For more information about tunnel rehabilitation, including current closures and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Rehabilitation page.

Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension

An aerial view of progress on the new MLK Extension in Portsmouth. 

Work on the future Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension progresses as crews continue pile driving in multiple areas, including on Des Moines Avenue. This work will continue through May. 

Concrete girders top the piers of the elevated roadway along the future mainline of the new MLK Extension.

At the main alignment, structural steel and concrete girders have been placed between several piers and preparations are underway to begin placement of the bridge deck.
Crews continue to work on general embanking along the interstate and installing overhead sign foundations.
This month, Turnpike Road was reopened to traffic while a portion of High Street was closed to install utilities. Near London Boulevard, construction continues on the temporary ramp to US 58 North and the MLK Extension North.
To accommodate construction and future traffic on the MLK Extension, several ramps and roads have been permanently or temporarily closed.
Permanent closures include:
  • I-264 East Des Moines Avenue off-ramp
  • I-264 West South Street on-ramp
  • Harbor Drive
Temporary closures include:
  • I-264 East Frederick Boulevard off-ramp
  • Portions of Trexler Avenue, King Street, County Street, and Meander Road
  • One lane on either side of I-264 near Frederick Boulevard has been closed for construction
  • Intermittent closures of Turnpike Road between Confederate and Constitution Avenues
  • Des Moines Avenue between South and Duke streets
Motorists are advised to follow the signed detours in the City of Portsmouth to navigate around the closures.
Learn more on the MLK Page of DriveERT.com. 


Connect With Us

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

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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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