New MLK Expressway opening soon

Courtesy: Elizabeth River Tunnels
Courtesy: Elizabeth River Tunnels

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The new MLK Expressway will open in Portsmouth soon. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) started talking about the project in 2012 as a solution to reduce congestion.

Photos: Progress on the MLK Extension

Workers are still finishing the project, but WAVY News had a tour of the progress Thursday with the construction director, Dan Norman.

“It’s a one-mile long elevated bridge connecting the Midtown Tunnel to 264, creating that direct connection, and there’s an on and off ramp at High Street and then we have access ramps at the southern end, which allow you to access it, 264 eastbound or westbound,” he said.

The current traffic plan sends drivers down London Boulevard to Effingham Street to get to 264.

The expressway is 50 feet above sea level and includes 10 bridges and 9 new ramps.

MLK Expressway Fact Sheet

ERC said the project cost about $300 million and that it’s funded by tolls, private equity, money from the Commonwealth, and loans. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a deal last year ensuring drivers will not pay a toll using the expressway.

“It’ll bring choices, it’ll save time in their daily commutes, and I think people are really going to appreciate the connectivity it brings,” Norman said.