Elizabeth River Tunnels
The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project comprises the development, design, construction, finance and operation of a new two-lane tunnel parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River. The project also includes much-needed maintenance and safety improvements to the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels; extending the MLK from London Boulevard to Interstate 264 and interchange modifications at Brambleton Avenue and Hampton Boulevard - all top priorities for residents of Hampton Roads.
Why Is the Project Needed?
The Midtown Tunnel is the most heavily traveled two lane road east of the Mississippi and a vital link between Norfolk and Portsmouth. It is also a 50-year-old facility and since the tunnel was built, population has increased nearly 70 percent, tunnel usage has gone up by 600 percent and more than a million vehicles a month travel through the tunnel. Additional capacity is greatly needed.
A second tunnel, in addition to the MLK extension, and other improvements are critical for motorists, the region’s economy and the efficient movement of goods and services.
What are the project’s major benefits?
The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project will mean a better quality of life for residents of Hampton Roads by creating a more efficient transportation system. Here are just a few of the benefits offered by the project:
- The average round trip user will save about 30 minutes a day. Not only does this save time, it means savings on fuel and less gas emissions.
- The elimination of bi-directional traffic in the Midtown Tunnel means increased safety.
- The project offers regional economic development benefits at estimates of $170 to $254 million.
- More than $1 billion of construction will be built by local vendors and suppliers, which amounts to more than 500 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs will be created.
- More travel options will provide greater accessibility to jobs, educational facilities, medical services, shopping and recreational activities for residents of all areas of Hampton Roads.
- The improvements will provide a critical link to the various port facilities in the region, supporting the movement of goods in and out of these facilities.
More information regarding this project can be found here
From The Daily Press
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that a buyout agreement has been made with Elizabeth River Crossings, which operates the Midtown and Downtown tunnels. This agreement means that there will be no tolls on the Martin Luther King Freeway Extension and there will be a cap on charges for toll violations on the tunnels that connect Norfolk and Portsmouth.