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bridge-tunnel facts
 
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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.

Official Name:
Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel

Operated by:
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission

Route:
US 13 connecting Virginia Beach/Norfolk to Virginia's Eastern Shore

Total Length (including approach roads):
23 miles

Length Toll Plaza to Toll Plaza:
20 miles

Length Shore to Shore:
17.6 miles

Depth of water along Route:
25 to 100 feet

Awards:
*American Society of Civil Engineers 1965 award for "Outstanding Engineering Achievement"
*Designated "One of Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" in 1965

Opening Date:
Northbound: April 15, 1964

Southbound: April 19, 1999

Designed By:
Northbound: Sverdrup & Parcel, Consulting Engineers

Southbound: Sverdrup Civil, Inc., Consulting Engineers, Maryland Heights, MO

Contractors:
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.)

Building Time:
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.

Total Cost:
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.

Construction Features:
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.

Trestles:
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:

Northbound: 2,656

Southbound: 2,149

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

Tunnel Clearances:
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

Islands:
Four manmade islands each with approximately 5.25 acres of surface, 30 feet above water

Rock Armor for Manmade Islands:
1,183,295 tons

 


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