Portsmouth considering legal action on Downtown Tunnel closures

Portsmouth considering legal action on Downtown Tunnel closures

Portsmouth considering legal action on Downtown Tunnel closures

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by Eric Kane, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 6:19 AM

PORTSMOUTH--The city may take legal action to fight the weekend closures at the Downtown Tunnel.                            

Members of City Council, including the mayor, met with business leaders Thursday afternoon to discuss ways to soften the economic blow from the weekly shutdown of the westbound tube, which is expected to last through next Spring.

Elizabeth River Crossing, the company doing the rehabilitation work, says the lengthy schedule is necessary to fix the 61-year-old structure.  

Charles Greenhood says his restaurant in Olde Towne, Brutti’s, has suffered a 50 percent drop in business on the weekends.

The idea of possibly filing an injunction to stop the closures came up at the meeting. Mayor Kenneth Wright said it was worth considering.

"To be able to prove those losses and be able to do that in such a manner that a judge would say 'Yeah, you've got cause and actually put the injunction in place, it'll probably be a tall order, but it's not that we shouldn't do it," said Wright.

No official action was taken by Thursday, but the city attorney is looking into what it would take to file an injunction.

Many in Thursday’s meeting are anxiously awaiting the Virginia Supreme Court's decision over tolls at the Midtown and Downtown tunnels.   That ruling could come when the court reconvenes in early November.

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