Elizabeth River Tunnels: News and Updates
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April 2013
Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Monthly Update


Construction Milestones

Waterline Installation is Complete

This month, ERC’s design-build partner, SKW Constructors (SKW), successfully finished installing a new 36-inch waterline under the Elizabeth River to make way for the new Midtown Tunnel. Last month, crews began connecting the new mile-long waterline – which is situated upstream of the existing tube – to the raw waterline at Claremont and Brambleton avenues in Norfolk. The tie-in was completed April 14.   

Dredging Operations Begin in the Elizabeth River

Dredging operations for the new tunnel are scheduled to begin at the end of April and the contractor has already begun installing environmental control measures. Approximately 1.5 million cubic yards will be dredged from the bottom of the Elizabeth River. That’s enough to fill the Downtown and Midtown tunnels six times! All but 10% of the dredge material has been designated for ocean disposal. The operation is expected to take 13 months to complete. 
 

Tunnel Fabrication Update

SKW began concrete placement for the new Midtown Tunnel tube sections this month at the graving dock in Sparrows Point, Maryland. A total of eleven sections will eventually be fabricated at the graving dock and then floated down the Chesapeake Bay to the construction site. The tubes will then be lowered to the bottom of the Elizabeth River and sealed together, forming the new tunnel.


Elizabeth River Crossings Supports Portsmouth's Edmarc Hospice for Children

ERC staff members helped play Easter bunny for Edmarc Hospice for Children. ERC employees delivered Easter baskets to local families. Hundreds of baskets were delivered to ill children, their siblings, and families in bereavement. 
 ERC staff members delivered Easter Baskets to local families at the Edmarc Hospice for Children
 
Edmarc’s services allow children with life-limiting illnesses to stay at home whenever possible. The organization looks out for the children and, at the same time, recognizes the entire family is affected. Edmarc offers a variety of services to address the physical and emotional needs of the child, and the multiple needs of the family from emotional support to financial difficulties. 
 
“It was bittersweet,” said Doran Bosso, Compliance and Liaison Officer, one of ERC’s volunteers. “The look on the kids’ faces when we arrived with their baskets was priceless, but when you stop to think about what the children and their families are going through, it’s quite sad.”  
 
Bosso, clad in his bunny suit, was definitely a hit. 

But you don’t have to wear a costume or wait until Easter to support this worthy organization. ERC is proudly sponsoring the 17th Annual Edmarc Hospice for Children Annual Charity Golf Classic August 8, 2013 at the Cypress Creek Golfer’s Club in Smithfield, Virginia. 
 
For more information and how to register, visit www.edmarc.org/annual_charity_golf_classic/


Gone, But Not Forgotten

When right-of-way acquisition planning began earlier this year, ERC learned more about the history surrounding Potter’s Field in Portsmouth, where many victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1855 are buried.
 
Margaret Windley, Portsmouth History Commission chair, holds a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of Portsmouth, including information about the epidemic.
 
“Within a few months in the summer and fall of 1855, more than 1000 people died in Portsmouth,” she wrote. “It was terrible in Norfolk too. At least one member of each family died. My great-great grandparents died within a week of each other.”
Potter's Field
According to Windley, the naval hospital opened its doors to the people of Portsmouth, regardless of military background. The Navy yard made coffins. Even so, the town could not keep up with the growing need and many who perished had to be committed to the ground in sheets. 
 
Due to the lack of space and overwhelming number of bodies, a portion of Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Portsmouth became Potter’s Field (a term used to identify a location where burials of unknown or indigent people occurred). 
 
Windley, wanting to remember the ancestors who have long been ignored, began to raise money for some sort of a remembrance. In March, ERC purchased a monumental stone that was placed in the cemetery. The inscription reads: 
 
Potter's Field - Among Those Believed To Be Buried in the Potter's Field Section of this Cemetery Are Many Who Died In The 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic Which Plagued Both Norfolk And Portsmouth. May They Rest In Peace. Psalm 23:4.
 

Employee Spotlight: Bobby Huffman

Bobby HuffmanWhen a van caught fire at a collision on I-264 near the Berkley Bridge last month, Safety Service Patrol Driver Bobby Huffman arrived within one minute of receiving the call.
 
“I got on the scene and the occupants had safely gotten out of the van,” he explained. “But they said there was a fire in the van and that the van had a lot of gas cylinders in it.”
 
Huffman noticed several gas cylinders inside the back of the burning vehicle were dangerously close to the flames. Recalling his safety training, he quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher out of his truck to put out the blaze.
 
His swift actions not only helped put out the fire, but also prevented extensive damage to the surrounding area.
 
“You have to be quick to react, you know?” Huffman recounts. “Control Room Supervisor Jennings backed me up while I was fighting the fire. We put the fire out long before the fire department got there and then got the road cleared.”
 
Shortly after Huffman took action, the Norfolk fire department arrived to safely remove the cylinders from the van and praised him for his quick thinking.
 
Bruce Wilkerson, Chief Operating Officer for the ERT Project, also spoke highly of Huffman’s efforts.
 
“If Bobby did not act as quickly as he did, the situation could have escalated into something much worse,” Wilkerson said.


Construction Activities That May Impact Your Commute

Paving of the Hampton Boulevard ramp to Brambleton Avenue east will take place on May 2, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. May 3.

Traffic loop sensor installation begins next month and is scheduled on the following weekends:
  • May 3, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., to May 6, on US Route 58 east at the Pinners Point Interchange
  • May 10, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., to May 13, on US Route 58 west at the Pinners Point Interchange
  • May 17, from 9 p.m.– 5 a.m., to May 20, on  I-264 east near Effingham Avenue
  • May 31, from 9 p.m.– 5 a.m., to June 3 I-264 west near Effingham Avenue
For more travel information throughout Hampton Roads, visit: www.virginiadot.org/travel/travel_alerts/hampton_roads


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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