ROADS/BRIDGES: New MLK Expressway in Portsmouth, Va., opens a month early

The $300 million mile-long expressway extends the Rte. 164 Martin Luther King Freeway

December 01, 2016
Rte. 164 Martin Luther King Freeway
Rte. 164 Martin Luther King Freeway

The Martin Luther King Freeway Extension, a new elevated roadway that connects the Midtown and Downtown tunnels in Portsmouth, Va., has opened a month ahead of its scheduled opening date.

Signs at each ramp and along Interstate 264 were uncovered Tuesday evening in preparation.

Construction of the $300 million, mile-long expressway began in November 2013. It extends the Rte. 164 Martin Luther King Freeway in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to I-264, providing a direct route for motorists between the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.

Digital message signs installed near the entrance points to the expressway on I-264 and Rte. 164 will communicate traffic conditions in real time, allowing commuters to make informed decisions on their chosen route .

Officials expect about 27,000 cars a day to use the Expressway.

This marks the second time Elizabeth River Crossing, the private company that manages tunnels and the expressway, has completed a project ahead of schedule. The new Midtown Tunnel tube opened in June, nearly six months ahead of schedule.