Elizabeth River Tunnels: News and Updates
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February 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 closures: Closed Wednesday, March 4 from 8 p.m. until Thursday morning at 5 a.m.
  • Single lane closures: Nightly Sunday through Wednesday, March 1-4 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. 
The Downtown Tunnel eastbound to Norfolk closure schedule is as follows:
  • Full direction closures:
    • Feb. 27-March 2: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
    • March 6-9: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
  • Single lane closures: Nightly Monday through Thursday, March 2-5 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. 
Visit the Travel Impacts page for more information.

Construction Milestones

Midtown Tunnel Fabrication

Fabrication of Elements 7-11 continues at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Float out to the Portsmouth project site is scheduled for this spring.

The Project team has made significant progress on tunnel element fabrication at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Now that all the structural concrete pours for Elements 7 to 11 are complete, remaining work continues on ballast tanks, pumps and controls, drainage pipes, bulkheads and push-pull knees (protrusions attached on each side of the element to allow tugboats to maneuver them during float out), Gina gaskets, fenders (to protect the steel end frame of the elements), and waterproofing on all five elements in preparation for float out. Float out of Elements 7 to 11 from Maryland down to the Portsmouth project site is scheduled for later this spring.
Learn more about the construction of the new tunnel on our Midtown Tunnel page

Norfolk and Portsmouth Approaches

Crews work inside the Norfolk cut-and-cover section.

The Norfolk cut-and-cover walls are complete and two of the four roof sections have been poured. Work on the walls for the boat section is quickly progressing and crews continue construction of two storm water pump stations. The first station will collect rainwater and handle drainage in the approach area to the Midtown Tunnel. The second station, adjacent to the boat section of the new tunnel, will collect drainage and prevent tidal and storm actions from flooding the tunnel area.

The Portsmouth cut-and-cover section and boat sections are structurally complete. The Project team has finished waterproofing and adding fill material behind the walls and the roof of the cut-and-cover. The completed boat section and cut-and-cover sections are used for entry and exit of construction equipment and personnel. The foundation for a new tunnel control building will sit on top of the cut-and-cover section and will provide access to and from the tunnel egress corridor.

Marine Work

Five elements have been placed in the Elizabeth River. Element 5 was the first to be placed within the Federal Channel and required close coordination with the Coast Guard to maintain marine traffic in the Elizabeth River. Element 6 will be pulled into the lay barge (the vessel that lowers the elements in place) and is being prepared for immersion next month. Screeding of the foundation bed for Element 6 within the Federal Channel is in progress. “Screeding” refers to the process of leveling the material on the bottom of the river. The screed blade hangs by cables underneath the sled and levels the foundation to the designated grade of the tunnel.

I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

Promat fireproofing installation advances in the I-264 East Downtown Tunnel.

The new ventilation system in the Downtown Tunnel is now operational and a fireproofed wall has been installed. Several closures were scheduled this month for crews to perform maintenance on the new traffic management systems. Other roadway rehabilitation work will take place this spring, prior to repaving the tunnel 

Rehabilitation of the I-264 East Downtown Tunnel continues with installation of conduits, cabinets and installation of Promat fireproofing on the tunnel ceiling. Crews are installing anchors to the tunnel ceiling in preparation for mounting the 16 new jet fans. Several new lights have been installed at the portal of the tunnel to help maintain light levels and allow for conduit work. Utility duct banks have also been added in Portsmouth in order to provide new utilities to the tunnel.  

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

Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension

Crews work on the foundation of the barrier walls near I-264.

This month, the MLK Phase of the ERT Project continues with the construction of the foundations and piers for the elevated portion of the future MLK Extension. North of I-264, crews closed Turnpike Road between Confederate and Constitution Avenues to install a storm water drainage pipe under I-264, which will allow storm water from south of the interstate to flow to the north side.

Off I-264, retaining walls are under construction near the pedestrian bridge site, the new ramp over Frederick Boulevard and along the ramp by South Street.

In the coming weeks, crews will continue general embankment work along I-264 in multiple areas. Foundation work for overhead signs is also scheduled to begin this spring. 

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
Motorists are advised to follow the signed detours in the City of Portsmouth to navigate around the closures.
Nearly 100 percent of the MLK work is being performed by DBE/SWaM businesses. Construction continues through December 2016.
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.

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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