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Funding for VA Bridge-Tunnel Approved

Thursday, April 4, 2019

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Late last month, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, working in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation, announced the approval of funding for the $3.56 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. The project is to be located along Interstate 64, running in parts of Hampton and Norfolk, Virginia.

According to The Washington Post, the improvements to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, one of the largest projects in the commonwealth’s history, is largely being funded by regional gas and sales taxes, tolls and other options.

HRBT History

The already-in-place 3.5-mile structure is composed of a couple of two-lane immersed-tube tunnels—the westbound lanes opening in 1957, the eastbound lanes opening in 1976—with trestle bridges running to the shore. According to the VDOT, these tunnels are roughly 7,500 feet long, and traffic on all four lanes can exceed 100,000 vehicles per day during the worst of summer traffic.

The artificial islands were built to provide a transition area from the bridge to the tunnel; at the time the facility was built, the HRBT was the world’s longest immersed-tube tunnel, and was also the first of its kind to be built between two artificial islands, which were made by Merritt-Chapman & Scott.

SchuminWeb, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Late last month, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, working in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation, announced the approval of funding for the $3.56 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. The project would be located along Interstate 64, running in parts of Hampton and Norfolk, Virginia.

When the tunnel was built, it was set in 23 sections and welded together, forming over a mile of steel tube. During the final parts of construction, the tubes were squared off with ceilings of pre-formed metal.

In February, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Hampton Roads Connector Partners as the consortium to win the contract for the work. The consortium is led by the U.S. arm of Spanish construction firm Dragados, with HDR and Mott MacDonald serving as lead designers, and Flatiron Construction, Vinci Construction and Dodin Campenon Bernard also slated to work on the project.

Funding Approval

According to the VDOT, the approval means that 95 percent of the funding will come from HRTAC. Other project funding is slated to include $200 million from the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE program and $108 million from VDOT for the replacement of the South Island Trestle Bridges.

“The [Project Agreement for Funding and Administration] we are authorizing today would not be possible without unprecedented cooperation between HRTAC’s local and state leaders, VDOT and the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Together, we have worked to provide regional solutions and partnerships that ensure future congestion relief and connectivity throughout the region,” said HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple.

State Sen. Frank Wagner began work on the project 15 years ago, after the Navy issued reports advising against expanding operations due to transportation problems.

"It's our biggest business and clearly we've got to come up with a solution to that and if the Navy feels that way every private business that wants to locate here, every industry is going to feel the same way," said Wagner. 

A groundbreaking ceremony is slated to take place later this month.

   

Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Tunnel

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