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About Midtown Tunnel

Midtown Tunnel


The Midtown Tunnel opened on September 6, 1962, and is 4,194 feet from entrance to exit.

Boundaries of U.S. 58 Midtown Tunnel

The original Midtown Tunnel carried U. S. Route 58 and linked together Norfolk and Portsmouth consisting of a single two-way tube beneath the main channel of the Elizabeth River. No pedestrians or bicyclists are allowed to travel through the tunnel.

Tunnel Fabrication

The original U.S. 58 Midtown Tunnel is the most heavily traveled two-lane road east of the Mississippi. Since it opened in 1962, population has increased nearly 70% and tunnel usage by 600%. A second tunnel was built at Sparrows Point, Maryland to relieve congestion and improve safety by eliminating bi-directional traffic in the existing Midtown Tunnel.


Watch the Tunnel Overview video to learn more.

U.S. 58 East Midtown Tunnel Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation of the existing U.S. 58 East Midtown Tunnel began June 3, 2016 and will continue through Q2 2017.

During rehabilitation, the existing U.S. 58 East Midtown Tunnel will be open to eastbound traffic, from Portsmouth to Norfolk, with construction closures as necessary.

The new U.S. 58 West Midtown Tunnel carries U.S. 58 West traffic. At opening, one lane of westbound traffic shifted to the right lane of the new tunnel, from Norfolk to Portsmouth, while the left lane remained closed for construction activities.

The rehabilitation, construction and maintenance activities scheduled at the existing U.S. 58 East Midtown Tunnel will require full weekend and nighttime closures for eastbound traffic through Q1 2017. Due to the nature of construction, scheduled closure dates are subject to change and some of the work is weather dependent.

View our Travel Impacts page for more information about current construction activities that may impact your travel.

Rehabilitation Improvements

Rehabilitation consists of structural, fire, life and safety improvements, including:

  • Relocating cable and conduit for future ceiling demolition
  • Replacing wall tiles
  • Pouring concrete for the new Elizabeth River Trail pedestrian bridge
  • Continued modification of the existing barrier wall on the Norfolk approach to allow for a crossover point between the two Midtown Tunnel tubes.

Maintenance work which normally requires lane and tunnel closures will also take place.

Alternate Routes During Closures

The following suggested alternate routes are below:

Additional Time Needed at Alternate Routes

  • High Rise Bridge: up to 30 minutes
  • Downtown Tunnel via VA 164 MLK Expressway: up to 15 minutes
  • Tolled Jordan Bridge: up to 15 minutes
  • Gilmerton Bridge: up to 15 minutes


Midtown Tunnel Construction

The new U.S. 58 West Midtown Tunnel was opened to a single lane of traffic on June 17, 2016, four months ahead of schedule and both lanes were opened to motorists in August 2016.

New construction included:

  • A new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River adjacent to the existing US 5.8. Midtown Tunnel.
  • Interchange improvements in Norfolk at Brambleton Avenue/Hampton Boulevard to enhance traffic flow.

The new tunnel was built adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel—bi-directional traffic in the existing Midtown Tunnel was converted to one-way. The new tunnel carries westbound traffic from Norfolk to Portsmouth. Eastbound traffic uses the original tunnel.

View initial traffic configuration at the Norfolk Approach.

View the secondary traffic configuration at the Norfolk Approach.

Midtown Tunnel Fabrication

The new Midtown Tunnel is comprised of 11 concrete elements, which were towed down the Chesapeake Bay to the Project site in Portsmouth for immersion and placement under the Elizabeth River. All 11 elements have been placed at the Portsmouth Project site. (Watch the 11th element placement video.)

With input provided by local police, fire, ambulance and first responders, the design enables enhanced emergency response and evacuation readiness. State-of-the-art safety features in the new tunnel include a separate escape corridor, jet fans, deluge system, fire sensors, fire alarms/extinguishers/hose connections, motorist aid phones, fireproofing and video monitoring for traveler safety.

View our New Midtown Tunnel and Midtown Tunnel Fast Facts.

View Midtown Tunnel construction photos on our Flickr page.


Read the Midtown Tunnel Construction FAQs