Downtown Tunnel

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I-264 Downtown Tunnel
Official name Downtown Tunnel
Location Norfolk, Virginia
Status Open, under rehabilitation
I‑264 / US 460 Alt.
Opened First tunnel: 1952; second tunnel:1987
Owner VDOT
Operator Elizabeth River Tunnels
Traffic vehicle

With EZ-Pass: $0.75 off peak, $1.00 peak (5:30-9am, 2:30-7pm)

Without: $1.50 off peak; $1.75 peak.
Number of lanes 4 (2 per tunnel)
Operating speed 35 mph
Tunnel clearance 13 feet 6 inches

The Downtown Tunnel on Interstate 264 crosses the Southern Branch Elizabeth River in the South Hampton Roads area. It links the independent City of Portsmouth with the independent City of Norfolk. In conjunction with the Berkley Bridge, the Downtown Tunnel connects to Interstate 464 to the City of Chesapeake and a continuation I-264 to the downtown and Waterside areas of Norfolk, and on to Virginia Beach. It is owned and operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Formerly a toll-free facility, open road tolling was implemented on February 1, 2014 by VDOT to help finance repairs and expansion to the tunnel.[1]


The two-lane Downtown Tunnel, opened in 1952, was the first fixed crossing directly between Portsmouth and Norfolk across the Elizabeth River. It was financed and built by the Elizabeth River Tunnel Commission with toll revenue bonds and was completed in 1952.

1989: 4 lanes and I-264[edit]

In 1988 and 1989, during an expansion of I-264, the Downtown Tunnel and the Berkley Bridge were rebuilt and expanded. Tolls were also removed. The interchange with I-464 at the eastern end of the tunnel at the Berkley Bridge was added in 1991.

"Anytime you build a complex interchange in a downtown metropolitan area with an underwater tunnel and a bridge with a liftspan for river traffic, you have a real challenge. Nowhere else in Virginia can you come out of a tunnel and cross a drawbridge."
Jack Hodge, Former VDOT Chief Engineer, discussing the complexity of building I-264 in Hampton Roads.[2]


  1. ^ Becca Mitchell, Marissa Jasek and Jackie Faye (January 31, 2014). "Tolls now in effect at Downtown, Midtown Tunnels". WTKR. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ Interstate Memories (Virginia Department of Transportation)

Coordinates: 36°49′58.5″N 76°17′37″W / 36.832917°N 76.29361°W / 36.832917; -76.29361