ERT puts first section of Midtown Tunnel into place

Elizabeth River Tunnels workers at the construction site of the new Midtown Tunnel . Oct. 10, 2014 (WAVY/Aaron Kurtz)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Team put the first section of the new Midtown Tunnel in place Friday morning. Project construction began a little more than two years ago.

“We’ve been involved in this job since 2008,” said Wade Watson, the project director for SKW Constructors. “So you’re seeing the culmination of years and years of hard work.”

Photos: Midtown Tunnel construction

Crews used two excavators to guide the first section of the tube close to a concrete wall, which will eventually serve as the westbound exit to Portsmouth. Elizabeth River Tunnels project leaders explained there will be eleven sections of the tube that will stretch from Norfolk to Portsmouth.

“There’s 11 tunnel elements,” said Dan Norman, Elizabeth River Crossing’s Assistant Construction Director. “We’re just beginning the placement of the first. “As we complete this, the placement of those elements will progress approximately every five weeks.”

Video: Time-lapse of Midtown Tunnel Project

Norman said the section that was placed on Friday will be submerged in the water late next week.

The new Midtown Tunnel tube will have new safety standards, like exit doors, fire detection, ventilation, and lighting. Once the new tube is complete, rehabilitation to the current tube will begin.

ERC said people will be driving through the new Midtown Tunnel tube by the end of 2016.

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