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

Travel Impacts

The Downtown Tunnel schedule is as follows:
  • Weekend Full Direction Eastbound Closures:
    • Oct. 30-Nov. 2: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
    • Nov. 6-9: Closed Friday at 8 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.
  • I-464 North to I-264 West (Exit 6A): Ramp closure into I-264 West Downtown Tunnel Monday through Thursday, Nov. 2-5 from 8 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning.

  • U.S. 58 Midtown Tunnel: Alternating lane closures Monday through Thursday, Nov. 2-5 from 9 p.m. each night to 5 a.m. the following morning.

  • High Street: Full closure between Confederate Avenue and Constitution Avenue through Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.
  • I-264 West: Right lane closed between Effingham Street and Frederick Boulevard:
    • Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31 from 8 p.m. each night until 8 a.m. the following morning.
    • Sunday, Nov. 1 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning.

Construction Milestones

Midtown Tunnel Construction

The restoration of the Portsmouth shoreline begins.

Construction of the new Midtown Tunnel moves forward as crews add the final fill layers (backfill) on top of the eleven elements. The final layer (called armor stone) will protect the tunnel from ship anchors in the Federal Channel. The last part of the marine work involves restoring the shoreline on the Norfolk and Portsmouth ends of the new tunnel.

Tunnel Interior Work

The bulkhead between Element 10 and 11 was removed this month, connecting all tunnel elements.

Inside the new tunnel, crews have successfully connected all the tunnel elements and are now in various stages of tunnel outfitting. 

In the coming months, crews will install fire protection boards on the tunnel ceiling and walls, complete ballast concrete pours, top slabs in the egress corridors and roadways 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

Crews prepare to unload the tide gate at the Norfolk Project site for the new Midtown Tunnel.

At the Portsmouth Approach, crews continue construction of the Portsmouth Tunnel Support Building, Portsmouth approaches and the new overheight vehicle road. 

The Norfolk Approach continues advancing eastward with excavation of the crossover section in progress. The crossover section is a connection to each tunnel opening that allows traffic to be redirected in an emergency. The Norfolk Tunnel Support Building work is moving forward as well – crews finished exterior concrete walls and are now placing concrete for the interior walls.

Tide Gate
The next critical part of the tunnel is the installation of the tide gate in the Norfolk
Cut-and-Cover section. Crews have been busy preparing a section of the new tunnel support building and the slots for the new gate ahead of its arrival from Oregon. Last week, the tide gate reached the Norfolk project site after a 21-day trip and will be installed next month. 


I-264 Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

An electrician pulls wire for the new LED lighting system in the I-264 East Downtown Tunnel.

Rehabilitation on the I-264 West Downtown Tunnel is near completion. In the coming months, crews will work on minor punch list items and remaining maintenance. In the eastbound tube, ITS conduit and cabinet foundation work continues on both walls. Crews are testing the new traffic control cabinets and new jet fans. Recently, the new LED lighting system was installed throughout the tube. 

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

Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension

Concrete is poured on a deck over Interstate 264 for the new MLK Extension.

This month, the team made progress on the mainline portion of the new Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension. Steel girders and deck pans are being installed along the future raised roadway, and the concrete bridge deck over Interstate 264 (I-264) was placed this month during an overnight interstate closure. Work continues on the construction of the I-264 West bridge over the NPBL railroad tracks and on the Des Moines Avenue bridge.
The I-264 East Frederick Boulevard off-ramp, closed since April 2014 for reconfiguration with the new MLK alignment, will also reopen to traffic this evening.
Near Queen Street, foundations for the new aesthetic walls of the mainline are underway and the team is now busy placing and grading fill material for one of the approaches.
The new Trexler Avenue alignment is now paved and will reopen to traffic later this year. Residents nearby will notice construction of a new noise wall is now underway.
To accommodate construction and future traffic on the MLK Extension, several ramps and roads have been permanently or temporarily closed. 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.

Questions about Pay by Plate? Contact ERT Customer Service at customerservice@driveert.biz.

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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