TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION: Midtown Tunnel sections now floating toward Portsmouth

The Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project team has begun the process of towing down the first six of 11 tunnel sections for the new Midtown Tunnel. The tunnel elements will be towed from the SKW Constructors JV fabrication facility in Sparrows Point, Md., to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal in Portsmouth, Va., in preparation for placement in the Elizabeth River beginning this fall.

Under current weather conditions, the first element is scheduled to arrive in Hampton Roads as early as this Friday, June 13, 2014.

The first step of the process, flooding the dry dock at Sparrows Point, began early Monday, June 9. All six completed elements will be moved out of the dry dock and temporarily moored in the Baltimore harbor for final outfitting ahead of the journey. Fabrication of the five remaining tunnel elements begins immediately following the removal of the first six elements.

Each element will be towed down one at a time, with the first scheduled to have begun its trip already.

It will take each element approximately four to seven days to arrive. Barring any adverse weather conditions, it will take approximately five to seven weeks to tow the six completed elements, which will be moored at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal until installation.

Headquartered in Portsmouth, Va., Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo LLC is the private partner of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the design, construction, finance, operations and maintenance of the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project, with SKW Constructors JV as design-build contractor. Located in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., the project consists of a new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel; fire, life and safety modifications and upgrades to the existing Midtown Tunnel and Downtown Tunnels; interchange modifications in Norfolk and Portsmouth; and extending the MLK Freeway in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to I-264. More information can be found at www.driveert.com.

Originally Published in Roads & Bridgesonline. Click on the link to read original article.