Improving Safety and Easing Congestion in Virginia with the Midtown Tunnel Project

The Midtown Tunnel and Downtown Tunnel in Virginia were over capacity and in need of maintenance and safety improvements.


Since the Midtown Tunnel opened, usage has increased six times, making it the most heavily traveled road east of the Mississippi River.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) knew it had to act fast in order to ease congestion for approximately 120,000 drivers who use the tunnels daily.  They needed to improve safety for the tunnels and surrounding transportation network.  With little traditional funding available, VDOT turned to Nossaman to assist with a public-private partnership (P3) to fund the improvements.

The $2.1 billion project was ranked as the number one transportation priority by the region's leaders and is the largest project to get under way in the region in almost 30 years.  We worked with VDOT to develop a toll concession P3 with Elizabeth River Crossings Opco LLC ("ERC").  The concession included construction of a new Midtown Tunnel, rehabilitation of the existing tunnels, and an extension of Martin Luther King Boulevard.


We assisted in securing critical project funding in the form of:

  • $422 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan
  • $663.75 million in Private Activity Bonds (PABS)

More than 500 jobs supported the construction efforts and another 1,000 jobs in other sectors of the local economy.  The project, which opened to traffic in the summer of 2016, cut round-trip travel time by 30 minutes a day and improved safety, reliability and connectivity to the region's transportation network.

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