A rare piece of good news on the infrastructure front: The new Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth will open early this summer, months ahead of its scheduled December completion. Officials with Elizabeth River Crossing said they had made “significant progress” on construction, and expect both lanes of the second tube to be fully open by late summer, reports the Virginian-Pilot.
The financing of the Downtown/Midtown Tunnel project embroiled Hampton Roads in controversy over the timing and size of the tolls. The McAuliffe administration has largely defused the issue, but the flap led many to question the value of using public-private partnerships to build and operate transportation mega-projects.
While private financing, ownership and operation of transportation assets raises many prickly questions, ERC’s performance with the enormously complex Midtown Tunnel project supports the argument that outsourcing design and construction to private entities can be a viable way to limit state exposure to delays and cost overruns.
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