NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The westbound side of the Downtown Tunnel from Norfolk into Portsmouth will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m. on Friday.
Crews are shutting it down to test smoke ventilation on a temporary exhaust system.
It will be used during the upcoming project to replace ceiling panels in the tunnel.
Alternate routes include the Midtown Tunnel and the Campostella Bridge.
VDOT officials do not know when the panels will be replaced.
"It is a very expensive procedure and we also have to design the system that is going to be replacing the old system. The tunnel is 50 or so years old and the system that was designed then could be much improved on today," said VDOT spokesperson Lauren Hansen.
Hansen said the tunnel is safe and they would not keep it open if it wasn't safe.
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.