PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — New toll rates for the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels will go into effect on January 1.
The toll will rise from $1.25 to $1.65 during off-peak driving hours. During peak hours, the passenger vehicle rate will jump from $1.50 to $1.95.
People without an E-ZPass will pay even more. Unregistered pay by plate users will pay a $3.30 processing fee per trip, in addition to the E-ZPass toll rate.
The dramatic increase is the result of a state deal coming to a close.
When tolling began in 2014, drivers were set to pay $1.84 during peak hours. But Governor Terry McAuliffe then agreed to “pay down” the tolls during the construction phase. With that ending, drivers will be back to the original rate, plus a permitted annual increase.
“With the contract [between Elizabeth River Crossings and VDOT], we are allowed to increase tolls by 3.5 percent or consumer price index, whichever one is greater,” said ERC Spokeswoman Leila Rice. “Keep in mind, we operate and maintain these facilities and we incur cost increases to maintain facilities. Tunnels are more expensive to maintain than open roadway.”
In preparation for the change in tolls rates, crews will install new overhead toll rate signs throughout the week on I-264, I-464, U.S. 58 and Route 164.
Lanes on roads near the toll signage will be closed beginning Tuesday, Dec. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 29. Drivers should also expect a 20-minute full closure of I-264 west between Military Highway and City Hall Avenue between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
All areas impacted are as follows:
- I-264 east between Frederick Boulevard and Des Moines Avenue
- I-264 west between Military Highway and City Hall Avenue in Norfolk
- I-464 north between South Main Street and the Berkley Bridge
- US 58 east near London Boulevard in Portsmouth
- Route 164 on the West Norfolk Bridge
Recently, the governor announced toll relief to give some locals a discount, depending on their income and the amount of trips they make through the tunnels.