The Virginia DOT (VDOT) joined state and local leaders to break ground on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project yesterday.
The $3.8 billion project will increase tunnel and interstate capacity along 9.9 miles of I-64 between Hampton and Norfolk, reducing congestion and easing access to the Port of Virginia and the world’s largest Naval base.
“For too long, traffic in the Hampton Roads region has bottlenecked at the tunnel,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “Folks in this region deserve an easier, more reliable commute. This is the largest project in our history, and it will ensure that people can move around faster, that commerce flows more easily, and that we finally connect the Peninsula and the Southside. This project will make everyone’s lives easier when it is completed.”
Virginia crews will use a highly-specialized tunnel boring machine to dig through soil and construct tunnel segments simultaneously. The advanced technology is used in the construction of highly complex projects such as Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway. The new HRBT is only the fourth roadway project to use this equipment in the U.S. The machinery is under construction in Germany and is expected to arrive in Hampton Roads in 2021 for assembly, which will take several months. It is expected to begin tunneling operations in early 2022.
The project has received support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), federal, and local partners. Design-build contractor Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) received Notice to Proceed for full construction activities in September. The project is expected to be completed in November 2025.
A Project Administration and Funding Agreement with HRTAC first announced in April 2019 commits 92% of locally sourced funding for the expansion. Additional financing includes $200 million from the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE program and $108 million from VDOT.
The HRBT Expansion Project will add twin, two-lane bored tunnels and widen the four-lane segments of I-64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, and in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods.
SOURCE: Virginia DOT