NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Portions of Old Dominion University’s “Maglev,” a $16 million “magnetic levitation” transit system project that infamously failed to get off the ground, are in the process of being torn down.

The university says a phased removal of the concrete supports for the tracks began this week and the process will be complete by this summer. They say it’s in order to accommodate new growth at the university, including the new “state-of-the-art” Biology Building, ODU’s largest ever capital project at an estimated $176 million.

The Maglev, once billed as a first of its kind form of transportation when it was announced at the turn of the millennium, was never used after a groundbreaking in 2001 due to multiple technical issues.

It would have moved students from the western end of campus (at Whitehurst and Powhatan residence halls) at roughly 40 miles per hour across Hampton Boulevard to the Ted Constant Convocation Center, all in a vehicle support by a thin cushion of air.

Instead the project, funded by American Maglev Technology through support from the Virginia General Assembly and then Dominion Resources, has proved to be a serviceable source of shelter from the rain and sun for ODU students.