The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project is a group of multiple transportation projects in the southern Virginia area, including the reconstruction of the Downtown and present Midtown Tunnels as well as the construction of a brand new east-west alignment of the MD Parkway and I-264 through the Elizabeth River Tunnel. This project represents the largest infrastructure improvement project in the city of Richmond since the completion of the Stadium Authority’s Mount Bonnel Train Station. This project represents an investment in the future of this dynamic southern Virginia city.
The purpose of this project is to create a connection between two major arterials in downtown vale, i.e. the Elizabeth River and I-264, by converting the existing downtown tunnels into an improved public transportation system. The plan is to have three major transportation arteries running through downtown Virginia. These arteries are downtown Loudoun County’s i-264 and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Potomac River’s Silver Line. By improving the connectivity of these major public transportation systems, the project hopes to create an even more vibrant and efficient downtown vale. By having all three of these transportation arteries running through the city of Richmond, traffic congestion and travel time will be reduced, improving travel times and easing traffic congestion in both major transportation corridors.
Virginia Railway Express
The Virginia Railway Express will be reorganizing to run all the way from Washington, D.C. to Richmond, eliminating the need for travelers to transfer to the Virginia Railway Express at their point of origin. A new bypass lane will be added on I-264, extending all the way to downtown Richmond. This new bypass lane is expected to reduce congestion along the I-264 corridor, while eliminating the need to use the Potomac and Elizabeth Rivers. Bylling will also be implemented along the four existing Elizabeth River Tunneling Bridges, making it easier for commuters to access all the areas of downtown Richmond from all points of origin.
The new two-lane tunnel is scheduled to open in late spring, with the first phase of the project spanning across the southbound lanes of the Elizabeth River. The second phase is due to open in summer of 2009. There will be several safety improvements made along the new two-lane tunnel, including landscaping. pedestrian crosswalks and protected bike lanes will also be installed. The improvements will help reduce traffic congestion and increase safety along the two heavily traveled roads in downtown Richmond. Additional landscaping along the bike lanes will also provide a safer environment for biking.
Third phase of the project
The third phase of the project consists of three pedestrian bridges across the Elizabeth River. It also includes a fourth bridge that will connect the tunnel to Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The project also consists of a pedestrian bridge over the Freemason Bridge which connects the Elizabeth River to the southbound lanes of the Potomac River. A section of the Virginia Beach Bridge will be demolished to make way for the new bridge.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens
The new two-lane tunnel will run approximately half way between the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and the Chesapeake waterfront. Once the new two-lane tunnel is built, there will be a one-mile walking path between the two intersecting roads. A one-mile pedestrian tunnel will also be constructed from the existing Norfolk Southern Railway station to the downtown area. The segment of roadway over the Norfolk Broads is expected to be renovated to improve safety conditions for pedestrians.
The new downtown segment of the airport will be constructed in phases. A mixed-use commercial facility will be built adjacent to the ramps of both the Eastbound and Westbound tunnel. This mixed-use facility will include a bank, restaurants, hotels, movie theater and at least one luxury apartment complex. There are also plans to build a skywalk, bike paths and multi-car parking facilities in the future. The ultimate destination of the new airport will be the soon-to-be renovated Verizon Wireless Park in Loudoun.
Many of these new businesses will be located in the high-rise towers that are being constructed along the Riverside. This means that a lot of office space is available for lease or sale. These companies, along with many others, will be looking for affordable office space to rent or buy because the downtown tunnels are expected to be full during the busy holiday season. This is the perfect opportunity to get a head start on their future by securing cheap office space in one of the many, Virginia, and Elizabeth River Tunnel businesses.