Lauren Hansen 757-925-1660

Leila Rice 757-679-4117


July 13, 2012

Safety remains the top priority during the seamless transfer

PORTSMOUTH / NORFOLK – Starting at 10:01 p.m. on Friday, July 13, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will transfer operations and maintenance responsibilities of the Downtown and Midtown tunnels to its partner, Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC). Significant advance preparation and coordination ensure that the vital safety and security measures of these critical infrastructures are upheld and preserved for the Commonwealth and for the residents of Hampton Roads.

“This partnership with Elizabeth River Crossings positions VDOT as a national leader in leveraging public dollars to advance critical infrastructure projects like this one,” says VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “The agreement allows us to utilize private sector technical, management and financial resources to deliver an enhanced transportation system to the citizens of Hampton Roads in a faster and less costly manner.”

ERC will be responsible for incident response, snow removal, operations, and maintenance of the tunnels and approximately 51 lane miles of associated roadways. Vehicles bearing the name “Elizabeth River Tunnels,” the name VDOT has used for years to collectively refer to the Downtown and Midtown tunnels, will be seen within the project boundaries as visible evidence that the ERC team is in place and on the job.

“We are proud to partner with VDOT and our team is well prepared to assume the operations and maintenance responsibilities for the project,” said Greg Woodsmall, CEO of ERC. “Our team is dedicated to making sure commuters experience similar or enhanced service at the tunnels to help make the drive a little easier.”

Immediate enhancements include tunnel lighting improvements, more frequent storm drain cleanings, sign replacements, pothole repairs and a new toll-free number available 24/7 to respond to maintenance requests within the project boundaries (1-855-ERT-ROAD). VDOT’s Traffic Operations Center will still be kept informed of all traffic information for the project, allowing motorists to continue to receive updates through 511 and VDOT highway advisory radio. 

Located in Norfolk and Portsmouth, the Elizabeth River Tunnels project is comprised of a new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel, plus 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 in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to Interstate 264. More information can be found at and



Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012