Downtown Tunnel eastbound will close weekends

Downtown Tunnel eastbound will close weekends

Credit: Elizabeth River Crossings

Work inside the Downtown Tunnel


by Ashley Smith, 13News Now

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 25 at 12:56 PM

NORFOLK -- We’ve dealt with it for almost a year -- construction and closures at the Downtown Tunnel.  

Until this weekend, it’s only been a problem if you were heading to Portsmouth.

Now, rehab work is set to begin in the eastbound tube of the Downtown Tunnel, heading into Norfolk. WVEC/VDOT LIve Traffic Camera of Downtown Tunnel I-264 East

You may have already seen overnight, single lane closures there since Monday. The biggest impact from this work could be felt starting Friday, when the eastbound lanes will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday.

Elizabeth River Crossings says the full weekend closures are necessary to complete the amount of work that needs to be done.

"The eastbound Downtown Tunnel is actually the newest of the three if you look at eastbound Downtown, westbound Downtown, and Midtown. So we've got sixty-plus, fifty-plus, and twenty-five-plus year old tunnels. And they have to undergo extensive rehabilitation from time to time to prolong the life of the tunnels and... to make them last as long as possible," says ERC spokeswoman Leila Rice.

It may seem like just another headache at the Downtown Tunnel, but those involved with the project are asking drivers to be patient. They say when the work in the eastbound tube starts to take shape, you’ll notice the changes… and you’re going to like what you see.

Full weekend closures of the Downtown Tunnel I-264 Eastbound are scheduled through the fall. Rehab work will continue in the westbound tube, but the tunnel will never fully close in both directions at the same time.

Drivers can expect delays of up to 30 minutes during the full closure when using one of the primary alternate routes. 

Primary alternate routes (signed detour):
• Midtown Tunnel via Effingham St.
• Interstate 64 High Rise Bridge
Other alternate routes include:
• Midtown Tunnel via Portsmouth Blvd.
• Route 13 Gilmerton Bridge
• South Norfolk Jordan Bridge (tolled)  

Full direction weekend closures:
• July 25-28
• August 1-4
•August 8-11
• August 15-18
•August 22-25
•August 29-September 1: No scheduled closures
•September 5-8

Single lane closures:
Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning.