Shannon N. Marshall 804-371-6844


July 31, 2009

Transportation Commissioner Approves Next Phase of Procurement

RICHMOND — The Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) Project is one step closer to construction. Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner David S. Ekern, P.E., has approved the advancement of the conceptual proposal, submitted by Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC (ERC), and has directed staff to begin negotiations for an interim agreement. This comes after the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) made a similar recommendation.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will now advance directly to negotiations for an interim agreement with ERC. This next stage of procurement is designed to further develop information needed to determine whether to advance the project to a comprehensive agreement. This stage also allows VDOT and ERC to form working groups and a steering committee to focus on critical issues, contract provisions and project development matters essential for the execution of a comprehensive agreement.

Last February, Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer named an Independent Review Panel (IRP) comprised of citizens, CTB members, VDOT officials, local government officials and representatives from other organizations to examine the private sector conceptual proposal to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension PPTA Project located in the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth

During the last several months, the IRP solicited input from localities and the general public and evaluated the ERC conceptual proposal to design and construct a parallel Midtown Tunnel, an extension of the MLK Freeway between Interstate 264 and London Boulevard and improvements to the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels.

As a result of the IRP and CTB recommendations, VDOT will be working with local jurisdictions and federal and state agencies to develop collaborative working groups to evaluate financial, technical and scoping issues, focus on business outreach and development programs and pursue public and private sector funding to stabilize and/or reduce toll rates.

VDOT is procuring the project under the provisions of the PPTA to secure private sector funds and offset the need for public allocations to fund the work. The project is designed to increase capacity, reduce congestion and provide a safe and efficient link between Norfolk and Portsmouth.

For more information on the PPTA process and guidelines, and to learn more about the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension PPTA Project, visit

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012