The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) and its partners on the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project are sponsoring a naming contest for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) that will begin working on the Project next year.  The massive TBM, at 42 feet in diameter and over 300 feet long, will excavate a one mile long, $756 million tunnel under Thimble Shoal Channel in the Chesapeake Bay.  The new bored tunnel will run parallel to the CBBT’s existing tunnel that carries more than 4 million vehicles each year under the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  The new tunnel will carry two lanes of southbound traffic while the existing tunnel will carry two lanes of northbound traffic.  Upon completion, it will become the first transportation tunnel constructed by a TBM in the Hampton Roads area.

According to tunneling traditions, a TBM cannot begin work until it has been given a name.  The name is generally that of a female, as a sign of good luck for the project ahead.

In keeping with tradition, the CBBT and the other Project partners invite all 6th grade students from Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and the Eastern Shore to participate in the naming contest.  Students may submit an essay of 200 words or less OR a 2-minute or less video that reflects their chosen name for the TBM.  The names must be a female name or character, but they can be real or fictional and should have some significance to the Commonwealth, the Chesapeake Bay region, nature, transportation or engineering.  Students are encouraged to be creative, clever and witty!

All entries must be submitted by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 9, 2018.  An appointed Review Committee will select the “Top 10” names, at which time the public will be invited to vote.

In addition to prizes for the winning student and their school, the winning name will be displayed on the side of the huge TBM during a launching ceremony which is anticipated to take place in early spring of 2019.

“The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission and employees of the District are excited to have 6th graders in the region to engage in such an important way for this historical project,” stated Jeff Holland, Executive Director for the CBBT.     “We look forward to the positive impact that this contest will have on all participants and the schools that they represent and look forward to the students’ creativity and innovation.”

Contest details and information about the tunnel project are available at by clicking here.