The Bridge-Tunnel project is a four-lane 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing of the lower Chesapeake Bay. The facility carries US 13, the main north-south highway on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and provides the only direct link between Virginia’s Eastern Shore and south Hampton Roads, Virginia.
The crossing consists of a series of low-level trestles interrupted by two approximately one-mile-long tunnels beneath Thimble Shoals and Chesapeake navigation channels. The manmade islands, each approximately 5.25 acres in size, are located at each end of the two tunnels. There are also high level bridges over two other navigation channels: North Channel Bridge and Fisherman Inlet Bridge.
Finally, between North Channel and Fisherman Inlet, the facility crosses at-grade over Fisherman Island, a barrier island which includes the Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Toll collection facilities are located at each end of the facility.
Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission
US 13 connecting Virginia Beach/Norfolk to Virginia’s Eastern Shore
Total Length (including approach roads):
Length (Toll Plaza to Toll Plaza):
Length (Shore to Shore):
Depth of water along Route:
25 to 100 feet
*American Society of Civil Engineers 1965 award for “Outstanding Engineering Achievement”
*Designated “One of Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” in 1965
-Northbound: April 15, 1964
-Southbound: April 19, 1999
-Northbound: Sverdrup & Parcel, Consulting Engineers
-Southbound: Sverdrup Civil, Inc., Consulting Engineers, Maryland Heights, MO
-Northbound: Tidewater Construction, Corp.; Merritt, Chapman, Scott; Raymond International; and Peter Kiewitt & Sons, Inc. (TMRK); American Bridge Co.
-Southbound: PCL/Hardaway/Interbeton, A Joint Venture (PCL Civil Constructors, Inc.; The Hardaway Company; and Interbeton, Inc.)
-Northbound: 42 Months – Construction began on September 7, 1960, and the project was opened to traffic on April 15, 1964.
-Southbound: 46 months – Construction began June 16, 1995, and the project was opened to traffic on April 19, 1999.
-Northbound: $200,000,000 financed by the sale of revenue bonds. No tax dollars were used.
-Southbound: $250,000,000 financed by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District and the sale of revenue bonds. No tax dollars were used.
12 miles of low-level trestle, 2 one-mile-long tunnels, 2 bridges, 2 miles of causeway, 4 manmade islands and 5-1/2 miles of approach roads.
-Length 12.3 miles
-Northbound width 28 feet curb-to-curb
-Southbound width 36 feet curb-to-curb
Concrete Piles to Support Trestles and Fisherman Inlet Bridge:
Tunnels (Trench Type):
-Thimble Shoal Tunnel: 5,552 feet in length, portal to portal
-Chesapeake Channel Tunnel: 5,237 feet in length, portal to portal
Construction is underway on a parallel tunnel at Thimble Shoal Channel. Click here for more information on this project.
24 feet horizontal; 13 feet 6 inches vertical
North Channel and Fisherman Inlet Bridges:
-North Channel (northbound): 3,798 feet in length; 75 feet vertical clearance; 300 feet horizontal clearance
-North Channel (southbound): 3,100 feet in length; 75 feet vertical clearance; 300 feet horizontal clearance
-Fisherman Inlet (northbound): 457 feet in length; 40 feet vertical clearance; 110 feet horizontal clearance
-Fisherman Inlet (southbound): 460 feet in length; 40 feet vertical clearance; 110 feet horizontal clearance
Four manmade islands each with approximately 5.25 acres of surface, 30 feet above water
Rock Armor for Manmade Islands: