Elizabeth River Tunnels Project Wins ACEC National Grand Award

Congratulations to the entire project team on the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project, which was presented with a Grand Award for Engineering Excellence at the ACEC National Conference on April 25.

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.

The $1.5 billion transportation infrastructure project 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 early next year.

Schnabel provided geotechnical engineering and construction consultation services on the MLK Expressway portion of the ERT 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 using earth fill, lightweight fill and expanded polystyrene blocks; and for pile-supported embankments.  As part of our embankment evaluations, we performed 39 consolidation tests to characterize the stress history and estimate consolidation within the soft clays underlying the embankments.  We also provided recommendations for several types of driven and drilled piles and shafts for bridge and sign support.  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.

Photo: Courtesy of SKW Constructors JV