The Midtown Tunnel runs beneath the Elizabeth River, linking the towns of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. In the 48 years since it opened, traffic through the tunnel has increased from 8,400 to 38,000 vehicles a day, making congestion and delays in both towns a routine, daily occurrence.
The need to create additional capacity at the tunnel has been recognised for decades, but funding has not been available. Now, a public-private partnership is set to begin work on a project that will dramatically increase tunnel capacity, and Halcrow is advising the Virginia Department of Transportation on how to achieve the best deal for the local population.
A consortium will soon start building a second tunnel alongside the existing Midtown Tunnel on a finance, design, construct, operate and maintain basis. Income will be generated by tolls on both the Midtown Tunnel and the Downtown Tunnel, which crosses the southern branch of the Elizabeth River. The project also includes extending the Martin Luther King Freeway, and building a new interchange to provide a direct connection from Interstate 264 to the Midtown Tunnel. Fire, life and safety modifications and upgrades will also be made to the existing Downtown Tunnel.
Halcrow has helped Virginia Department of Transportation to make accurate assessments of the operation and maintenance costs for all the facilities that will be included within the concession agreement, including highways, tunnels and bridges. Based on estimates for deterioration rates, construction costs and the resources required for routine operations and maintenance, we have been able to build up estimates that will help to assess the value for money being offered by bidders.
We also carried out a risk workshop and developed the project risk register, then helped to define the request for outline proposals to include the contractor’s view of risk. This has helped the client focus effort on aspects of the procurement that have the potential to impact on project success. By having a robust estimate of project costs and understanding better the project risks, including the bidders’ views of project risk, the client will obtain better value for money from the procurement.