More than 100,000 drivers use the Midtown and Downtown tunnels daily. To increase capacity and rehabilitate the existing tunnels, VDOT partnered with Elizabeth River Crossings to deliver the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project with tolling as a funding source for the Project. Driving through the Midtown and Downtown tunnels you will notice “gantries” over the roadway on the Portsmouth side of the tunnels. The “gantries” collect the tolls electronically so that drivers may maintain speeds and the road can operate more safely and efficiently than with toll booths.
All-Electronic Tolling (AET) is a mechanism by which the collection of tolls is performed electronically. By eliminating the need for physical toll booths, traffic can be sustained at a free-flow pace, which reduces vehicle idle times, thus reducing any negative impacts on the environment. Tolls are collected via overhead electronic gantries instead of toll booths to allow for the free-flow of traffic. Vehicles may pass through the toll point at the posted speeds with no need to slow down, stop or find correct change. Each vehicle is identified either by an E-ZPASS transponder or license plate.
- Enhanced safety – barrier-free highway/reduced crashes
- Improved mobility – reduced travel times
- Customer convenience – no stopping to pay tolls
- Cleaner environment – reduced emissions
- Smaller footprint – minimizes environmental impacts
- Future flexibility – interchange design and high-speed connections
Motorists have several options to make a payment:
- E-ZPass: The easiest, most economic option. If you already have an E-ZPass account, make sure your transponder is clearly visible inside your front window. Want a Virginia E-ZPass? Visit www.ezpassva.com or call 877-762-7824.
- Pay by Plate: No transponder needed. Drive through the Downtown or Midtown tunnel and the toll gantries will capture a picture of your license plate and mail you an invoice within 60 business days. Processing fees will apply to each transaction, plus the cost of the toll. Pay online, by phone, by mail or in person at our Customer Service Center in Portsmouth.
If you are renting a car, please speak to your rental car company regarding their assessment of toll payments.
About the Project
The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project is a public-private partnership of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings, OpCo LLC. Located in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, the Project includes:
- A new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel
- Significant rehabilitation, fire, life and safety improvements to the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels
- Extension of the U.S. 58 Martin Luther King Freeway from London Boulevard to Interstate 264 (I-264), with an interchange at High Street, creating an efficient, connected transportation network
- Modifications to the interchange at Brambleton Avenue/Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk
- Complete operations and maintenance responsibilities of the Elizabeth River Tunnels and associated roadways
- An annual subsidy to Hampton Roads Transit to increase bus service between Portsmouth and Norfolk to the highest levels of service, creating a cost-efficient alternative to driving.
To report an incident or maintenance issue at the Elizabeth River Tunnels, call our 24-hour hotline: 1-855-ERT-ROAD (1-855-378-7623)
For inquiries about tolls or billing issues related to the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project, contact the ERT Customer Service Center directly at 1-855-ERT-ROAD or customerservice@DriveERT.biz.