Elizabeth River Tunnels

The Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) project is the recipient of a 2017 Grand Award for Engineering Excellence from ACEC. This $1.5 billion transportation infrastructure initiative has four major components:  a new two-lane tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River; maintenance and safety improvements to the Midtown and Downtown tunnels; extending the Martin Luther King Expressway from London Boulevard to Interstate 264; and interchange modifications at Brambleton Avenue and Hampton Boulevard.  Construction began in 2012 and is expected to conclude in early 2018.

Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, LLC, is the private partner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for the design, construction, finance, operations and maintenance of the ERT project. WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff led the design team and SKW Constructors, JV (a Skanska, Kiewit, Weeks Marine Joint Venture) is the design-build contractor.

Schnabel provided geotechnical engineering and construction consultation services on the MLK Expressway portion of the project. Our work encompassed subsurface exploration, soil laboratory testing, and geotechnical engineering analysis. The exploration program included 206 test borings, 55 cone penetrometer soundings, and 48 dilatometer soundings. Based on test results we also made recommendations for embankments constructed using different fill materials as well as pile-supported embankments.

The MLK Expressway features nine new or reconfigured ramps, and about a mile of the new roadway is elevated.  Construction began in November 2013 and the MLK opened on November 30, 2016. For more information, go to www.driveert.com .

Photo courtesy of SKW Constructors JV