The Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) project team reached a major construction milestone for the new Midtown Tunnel on July 14 with the immersion of the last tunnel element, connecting the shorelines of Portsmouth and Norfolk.
The project’s design-build contractor, SKW Constructors (a joint venture of Skanska, Kiewit and Weeks Marine), used the large, specially designed pontoon-style boat (known as a lay barge) to move Tunnel Element 11 into position in the Elizabeth River and lower it to the prepared river bed. Immersion of the individual tunnel elements that make up the new Midtown Tunnel began in Portsmouth, with Elements 1-10 immersed sequentially in the river. Element 11 connects the Norfolk shoreline to the rest of the new tunnel. Crews will continue outfitting the tunnel interior by installing fireproofing, lighting, finishing the egress corridor and road surface, and installing permanent electrical and mechanical equipment.
“We’re thrilled by the progress SKW Constructors has made, especially given the unique complexities of this project and a project of this magnitude. We look forward to opening the new tunnel on time next year and to improving mobility and connectivity in Hampton Roads,” said ERC CEO Greg Woodsmall.
The new Midtown Tunnel, scheduled for completion in December 2016, will become the westbound tube, carrying traffic from Norfolk to Portsmouth, and the current Midtown Tunnel will become the eastbound tube, carrying traffic from Portsmouth to Norfolk.