Portsmouth, Va. — The Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project team this week immersed the fourth of 11 tunnel elements that will make up the new Midtown Tunnel, successfully joining it to the previously placed elements. With this, the new Midtown Tunnel is now just over one-third of the way across the Elizabeth River.
Element four bears the distinction of being the first tunnel element to be placed in the open waters of the Elizabeth River. (The first three elements were placed in an excavated slot adjacent to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal on the Portsmouth side of the Elizabeth River). A large, specially designed, pontoon-style boat, known as a Lay Barge was used to move Element four into position in the river and lower it to the prepared river bed.
Placement of the remaining seven tunnel elements will continue from the Portsmouth side moving eastward across the Elizabeth River to Norfolk at the rate of approximately one every five weeks. Element five is currently scheduled for placement in mid-February.
The new Midtown Tunnel will become the westbound tunnel, carrying traffic from Norfolk to Portsmouth and is scheduled for completion in December 2016.