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Elizabeth River Crossings is a company known by its other legal name, Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, LLC, whose responsibility is to finance, deliver, and maintain the Elizabeth River Tunnels project. It is worth noting that this project includes the construction and further operation of a two-lane tunnel, which is adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River.
Elizabeth River Crossings is located between several cities, namely between the city of Portsmouth and Norfolk in Hampton Roads. As part of the tunnel network, the MLK/U.S.58 freeway was extended to I-264, which significantly reduced the overall load of traffic jams on the streets and roads.
Elizabeth River Crossings is operated by Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, LLC and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
How Elizabeth River Crossings emerged
The traffic fork around South Hampton Roads is quite problematic due to the banks of the Elizabeth River. The busiest vehicular route, I-264, passes through the East Branch of the river (Berkeley Bridge) and the South Branch through a downtown tunnel.
The tunnel, built back in 1952, needs to be renovated as most of it has exceeded its maximum service life. The East Tunnel also needs to be repaired in accordance with NFPA 502.
To expand the capacity of the Midtown Tunnel, the decision was made to implement the Elizabeth Project. It involves an increase in traffic lanes, a comprehensive reconstruction of the Midtown parallel tunnel, and the restoration of a tunnel that runs through the downtown.
How reconstruction took place
According to the Elizabeth Tunnels project, the restoration of one of the key Midtown tunnels involved:
dismantling of the old suspended ceiling;
dismantling of old, unsuitable for operation, lamps. Instead, they installed economical and energy-efficient LEDs;
upgraded the ventilation system.
The restoration works started on August 9, 2013, in the direction from Norfolk to Portsmouth.
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