Elizabeth River Crossing: News and Updates

November 2012
Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Monthly Update

Super storm Sandy shows ERC Team is up for the challenge

Ensuring driver safety during major weather-related events is challenging. So when word came that a hurricane was heading to Hampton Roads, the Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) team immediately jumped into action and began preparing for the storm. Working with its partners at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), ERC monitored weather conditions and the tide cycles for possible tidal flooding. Crews worked 12-hour shifts throughout the weekend, keeping the tunnel open to motorists as long as safely possible. Safety Service Patrol vehicles piloted vehicles through the tunnel at times in order to regulate speeds and prevent hydroplaning through standing water on the Norfolk side. At the height of the event on October 29, ERC crews lowered the tide gates at the Midtown Tunnel at 8 a.m. Water on the Norfolk side of the tide gate reached as high as 13 feet during the storm. Crews managed to pump out all standing water at the Norfolk approach to the Midtown Tunnel and lift the tide gate at 4:45 p.m. that afternoon, reopening the tunnel to both east and westbound traffic. The Downtown Tunnels, which serve as alternate routes between Portsmouth and Norfolk, remained open throughout the storm without restrictions to drivers. 

Water line installation kicks off

Monday, Nov. 19, construction activity became visible as crews began preliminary work along eastbound Hampton Boulevard.  Workers are replacing a 30-inch raw water line that crosses the Elizabeth River between Norfolk and Portsmouth to clear the way for the new tunnel. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until its completion in April 2013.  (Work will be 24/7 for a short period during the pipe-pulling operation at the end of April). 

A look ahead at construction and maintenance work for the Downtown and Midtown tunnels

Moving into December, throughout the month various shoulder closures will take place on I-264, US 58, and Route 164 for roadway and bridge-drain cleaning. Weather permitting, the following work is scheduled:
  • Sweeping will create moving lane closures in all of the tunnels Sunday, Dec. 2, Sunday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 30, from 6 to 10 a.m.
  • Paving will create lane closures on the westbound off-ramp from I-264 to Court Street, and the on-ramp from Bart Street to west I-264 Monday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Paving will create lane closures on the off-ramps from east I-264 to Effingham Street, and Court Street, Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Re-lamping will create moving nighttime lane closures in all three tunnels Monday through Thursday, Dec. 10-14, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Paving will create lane closures on the flyover ramp from westbound Hampton Boulevard to westbound Brambleton Avenue (Route 337) Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For a complete look at all roadway activities that may impact your commute visit VDOT’s travel center at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/travel_alerts/default.asp.

Elizabeth River Trail reroute improvements coming soon 

Preparatory work is progressing on a portion of the Elizabeth River Trail. All along Red Gate Avenue, Stockley Gardens, Olney Road and Botetourt Street, small flags (utility locates) can be seen marking the underground utilities along the path where improvements will soon be under way.  The trail detour begins in January, just southwest of Olney Road and stretches .4 miles to south Plum Point Park.  For more information about the trail detour and a map of the alternate path, visit www.driveert.com

We do more than build tunnels

ERC is proud to be part of the project that will improve congestion, increase safety and ease mobility in Hampton Roads, and the organization is also excited to give back to the community in other ways. Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth’s Holidays in the City events allowed two sponsorship opportunities for ERC. ERC purchased 50 bleacher seats for the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority Community Youth Group to watch the Grand Illumination of Lights Parade on Nov. 17. ERC then donated two $1,000 prizes to the best high school band performances at the parade. Booker T. Washington won the award for Norfolk, and Churchland High School was the winner in Portsmouth. 

Work zone safety -it's important all year

Roadway construction is typical during summer months, but work zone safety is equally important year round. As ERC crews maintain the tunnels and begin installing the water line this winter, drivers are encouraged to slow down, and ‘Give ‘em a brake.’ According to the Federal Highway Administration, nationwide more than four of every five victims in a work zone crash are motorists, which is why it is particularly important for drivers to remain alert while driving through work zones. Do your part, whenever you enter a work zone, use caution, pay attention and obey directions from traffic signs and flaggers. 

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).