The Virginia Department of Transportation in the US is expected to finalise a private consortium to deliver the Midtown Tunnel expansion project by next year.

The public-private partnership project consists of modifications to the existing tunnel and construction of a new immersed tube tunnel under the Elizabeth River, parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel.

The tunnel expansion project is located in the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth and first includes extending the Martin Luther King (MLK) Freeway and upgrading the Downtown Tunnel on I-264 crossing the southern branch of the Elizabeth River in the South Hampton Roads region.

The MLK Freeway extension involves widening the freeway south from London Boulevard, with a new four-lane interchange at Interstate 264 to offer a direct connection from I-264 to the Midtown Tunnel.

The state is expected to allocate $900m for the expansion of the Midtown Tunnel and develop a new US 460 as a limited-access highway.