VDOT: Excessive rain closed the Downtown Tunnel this morning

Posted at 1:37 PM, May 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-15 13:37:45-04

According to VDOT, officials closed the I-264 Downtown Tunnel this morning at approximately 7:50 a.m., as a sudden downpour caused four inches of water accumulation in the westbound tube. 

Downtown Tunnel control room personnel responded to a high water alarm this morning when the Portsmouth-side pump system did not engage properly during a rainstorm that was passing through the area.  A response crew was dispatched and the pump was activated manually.  Water quickly receded upon pump engagement and the tunnel was reopened at 9:35 a.m.

The cause of the pump control circuitry malfunction is still being investigated.  Tunnel pump systems are inspected weekly to test functionality. 

The Downtown Tunnel pump system had been inspected last week and no malfunctions were discovered. 

During the little more than one-hour closure, motorists were diverted to the Route 58 Midtown Tunnel, the I-64 High Rise Bridge and the Route 13/Military Highway Gilmerton Bridge.