Ground broken on $3.8bn HRBT expansion project in Virginia, US


The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has announced the start of construction on $3.8bn Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) expansion project in Virginia, US.

Upon completion, the project will increase tunnel and interstate capacity along 9.9 miles of Interstate 64 from Hampton to Norfolk, minimising congestion and proving easy access to the Port of Virginia.

It will add twin, two-lane bored tunnels and widen the four-lane segments of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, and in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said: "For too long, traffic in the Hampton Roads region has bottlenecked at the tunnel.

"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."

Construction crews will deploy a highly-specialised tunnel boring machine to dig through soil and construct tunnel segments simultaneously.

VDOT stated that advanced technology is used in the construction of projects such as Manhattan's Second Avenue Subway.  The new HRBT expansion project is the fourth roadway project to use this equipment in the US.

The equipment, which is under construction in Germany, is expected to arrive in Hampton Roads in 2021 for assembly, which will take several months. Tunnelling operations are expected to commence in early 2022.

VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich said: "VDOT is using this advanced boring technology for the first time ever.

"We're doing it because this is one of the nation’s most important maritime channels, and this technology means less disruption to military and commercial activity and less impact on marine life."

Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), a design-build contractor, received notice-to-proceed for full construction activities in September.  The project is anticipated to be completed in November 2025.


Westbound lanes in the tunnel portion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. (Credit: Ben Schumin/Wikipedia)

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