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Elizabeth River Tunnels

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Managing Communications for a P3 Tolling Project

PRR led communications, public involvement, community outreach, toll marketing, and website development for Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC), the private partner of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the design, construction, finance, operations, and maintenance of the Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project.

Public Involvement Plan

Developed and implemented a public involvement plan to educate neighboring communities about the new roadway and tolling program.

Advertising Strategy

Created a focus group-tested and phased advertising strategy to encourage drivers to prepare for tolling with an E-ZPass.

Crisis Communications

Supported crisis communications during emergency operations, including staffing the Emergency Transportation Operations Center during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Media Training

Developed a comprehensive media training for ERC executive leadership and other essential staff.

Elizabeth River Tunnels


The Elizabeth River Tunnels Project comprises the development, design, construction, finance, and operation of a new two-lane tunnel adjacent to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River between the cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk in Hampton Roads. This is one of VDOT’s first public-private partnership (P3) projects and the state’s first E-ZPass tolling project in the Hampton Roads area. Due in part to PRR’s marketing efforts, after less than one year of tolling traffic numbers show that, on average, up to 75 percent of all trips taken through the Downtown and Midtown tunnels are made by vehicles with E-ZPass transponders.

Elizabeth River Tunnels

What's the Story with the Roadway Improvements?

Located in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, the ERT Project is comprised of a new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel; upgrades to the existing Midtown Tunnel and Downtown Tunnels; interchange modifications in Norfolk and Portsmouth; and extending the MLK Freeway in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to I-264.

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