UPDATE: Midtown Tunnel sections on the way

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 13 at 5:34 PM

UPDATE:  6/9: 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, Maryland to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal in Portsmouth, Virginia 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 this morning, 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.

A total of 11 elements will comprise the new Midtown Tunnel which will ultimately carry westbound traffic when completed in late 2016.

SPARROW POINT, MD -- Tolls at the Downtown and Midtown tunnel are being collected to pay for a new Midtown tube and other improvements.  

The new Midtown is being built at Sparrows Point, Maryland and Thursday, the media are getting a tour of the yard.

ERT says 11 rectangular tunnel pieces are cast of reinforced concrete with temporary bulkheads at each end so they can be towed down the Chesapeake Bay to Portsmouth. Once in Hampton Roads, they'll be prepared to be put in place under the Elizabeth River.  The new two-lane tunnel will be next to the exiting tube.

ERT says the tunnel's design took into account feedback from police, fire and other first responders. Some of the state-of-the-art safety features include a separate escape corridor, jet fans, fire sensors, fire alarms/extinguishers/hose connections, motorist aid phones, fireproofing and video monitoring.

The new US 58 West Midtown Tunnel is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2016. Click here to learn more about the project.

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