Norfolk, Va. — Skanska, leading a joint venture of Skanska, Kiewit Construction and Weeks Marine (SKW Constructors), announced completion and opening of the new VA 164 Martin Luther King (MLK) Expressway one month ahead of schedule.
“It is a significant accomplishment to have completed the new MLK Expressway ahead of schedule,” said Wade Watson, Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project Director for SKW, responsible for the design-build aspect of the project. “This new road allows for enhanced regional mobility, giving motorists a direct connection between the U.S. 58 Midtown Tunnel and the I-264 Downtown Tunnel.”
The MLK Expressway is part of the Elizabeth River Tunnels project which is using a public private partnership (P3) model for the finance, development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a new two-lane tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River, connecting the communities of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Construction of the mile-long MLK Expressway began in November 2013. The new expressway extends the VA 164 Martin Luther King Freeway in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to I-264, providing a direct route for motorists between the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.
Additionally, changeable message signs installed near the entrance points to the expressway on I-264 and VA 164 will communicate traffic conditions to motorists in real time, allowing commuters to make informed decisions on their chosen route and avoid congestion.
This new expressway will enable motorists to avoid congestion at regional choke points including the I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Hampton and Norfolk, and the convergence of I-64, I-264, I-664 and U.S. 58 at the Bowers Hill interchange in Chesapeake.
The MLK Expressway features nine new or reconfigured ramps, including two at High Street, two at London Boulevard, one at Frederick Boulevard and four ramps at the new I-264 interchange. Additional aesthetic treatments were applied to the new extension from London Boulevard to Turnpike Road, and nearly 47,000 square feet of noise walls were constructed. Additionally, the newly constructed pedestrian bridge over I-264 near Frederick Boulevard provides added safety features with increased lighting and access.