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

Construction Milestones

Marine Work

The removal of timber piles on the Portsmouth side of the Elizabeth River progressed in July. The timber piles are remnants of old piers along the Elizabeth River which had been abandoned and buried by fill as the Portsmouth Marine Terminal was built. Dredging of the Portsmouth approach began, with the spoil material being disposed of at an upland disposal facility. A silt curtain installed around the work area protects the river as the timber pile removal and dredging are performed.

A lay barge is now docked at the Project site in Portsmouth, VA.

The lay barge arrived from Istanbul, Turkey and was offloaded from the heavy lift vessel, Hawk, this month. The lay barge will be used to place the tunnel elements on the bottom of the excavated trench sequentially, from Portsmouth to Norfolk, to build the new tunnel.

Tunnel Fabrication

Tunnel-element fabrication continues this month at the graving dock located at Sparrow’s Point, MD. Concrete placement on the first six elements, which will be floated to the Project site in spring 2014, is in progress. 

Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) acquired 55 percent of required parcels along the Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension in July. Demolition and clearing the alignment of the new extension is in progress. Construction begins in late August.

Portsmouth Approach

The temporary over height vehicle road is now complete, allowing support of excavation (SOE) and concrete piling installation in the tunnel boat section to move forward. The SOE is a system of driven steel beams and sheet piling that prevents soil movement during excavation. The concrete piles will act as anchors to overcome buoyant forces in the tunnel boat section approach.
The substructure for the temporary rail and truck bridge that will maintain traffic across the tunnel alignment for the Virginia Port Authority is also complete.

Norfolk Approach

Equipment and materials are mobilizing to the Norfolk Approach this month. Crews installed a crane road which enabled them to remove the existing shoreline protection. Additionally, new storm drains were installed along the alignment of the Norfolk approach to the new tunnel.
Existing water and sewer lines that provide service to the Midtown tunnel were relocated this month as well.

Tunnel Rehabilitation - I-264 West Downtown Tunnel

During the month of June, workers identified cracks and concrete spalls (weak, rusting concrete) in the lower air duct of the westbound Downtown Tunnel. Teams also conducted field sampling of paint and tile to ensure no hazardous conditions are present prior to beginning rehabilitation activities.

In July, the survey of the tunnel was completed, traffic analysis was conducted and detour plans finalized. Rehabilitation of the westbound Downtown Tunnel begins August 9, through spring 2014.
Rehabilitation consists of structural, fire, life and safety improvements:
  • Tunnel fireproofing for structural protection
  • A new directional jet fan ventilation system
  • LED tunnel lighting which provides brighter lighting and uses less energy
  • Relocation of fire alarms, extinguishers and hydrants for easier accessibility

Construction and Maintenance Activities That May Impact Your Commute

Tide gate testing is scheduled at Route 58 Midtown Tunnel on August 4, from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. The scheduled testing and related maintenance allows crews to safely check facility operations. During the tunnel closure, traffic will be detoured to the Interstate 264 (I-264) Downtown Tunnel.

I-264 west Downtown Tunnel Rehabilitation weekend closures begin August 9, and are scheduled to continue each weekend from 8 p.m. Friday, to 5 a.m. Monday, through spring 2014. For a schedule of closures, view our fact sheet.

Weeknight single lane closures begin August 5, and continue through the duration of the I-264 west Downtown Tunnel rehabilitation. Lane closures will occur Monday through Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning.

You can get the most current construction travel impacts for the Project at www.driveert.com/construction/travel-impacts
For more travel information throughout Hampton Roads, visit: www.virginiadot.org/travel/travel_alerts/hampton_roads

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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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