Taking Action: What’s going on with the expansion of the MLK Extension?

Posted at 7:57 PM, Feb 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-24 19:57:20-05

As Elizabeth River Tunnels started a major construction project at the Midtown Tunnel, part of that is expanding the MLK Extension.

And some drivers are confused by the recent closures.

One driver sent NewsChannel 3 an email about the closures on US-58 in Portsmouth, leading to the London Boulevard exit.

That driver doesn’t understand why officials brought part of US-58 in both directions down to one lane, even though the original plan only called for the London Boulevard exit ramp to be closed.

She went on to say, making a throughway used by two military bases into a one-lane rush hour gridlock, is callous and inconsiderate.

NewsChannel 3 took action to get her and other drivers answers.

Today, ERT officials say the closures are part of the overall project.

As crews work on the off ramp, Leila Rice says part of the new MLK extension will be elevated and will start just before the current London Boulevard ramp.

That means they’ll start building the extension above the existing road on US-58.

Rice says they’ll also build a barrier wall on US-58 to keep drivers safe and away from the construction.

Information sent out by ERT on Friday did say long-term lane closures in both directions of US-58 near the London Boulevard Bridge would go into effect this weekend and remain in effect through the ramp closures.

How long is that?

ERT officials say it’s a long-term closure that could take up to 12 months.

But they’re hoping to complete it earlier than that.

Until then, though, drivers will be fighting their way through that one-lane rush hour gridlock for months to come.