CAPE CHARLES, VA – The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission voted to approve a resolution for the acceleration of the construction of the Thimble Shoal Parallel Tunnel Project (the Project) at its meeting on May 21, 2013. The resolution recommended that construction of the Project begin as early as financially practicable and utilize a Design-Build contracting model to maximize cost savings and to shorten the final delivery timeline.
Following an extensive due diligence process, a majority of Commission members concluded that the current low interest rate environment for tax exempt municipal debt, the decreased construction costs for other large scale infrastructure projects in the current economic environment and the timing of other similar local projects now underway provided an exceptional opportunity to begin the completion of the second phase of the Parallel Crossing Project that was first envisioned in 1987 and approved unanimously by the General Assembly in 1990.
Besides the lower interest rates and construction costs, the Project timeline also potentially benefits from an improved financing plan that incorporates the utilization of attractive federal loans offered through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). The combination of all of these factors improves the construction timeline by as much as 4 years compared to prior analyses.
As part of the resolution, the Commission also proposed increasing the current toll schedule by 10% beginning on January 1, 2014 and every 5 years thereafter. The proposed toll rate change utilizes a peak season pricing methodology and includes additional round trip discounting for other classes of vehicles to minimize the impact on local citizens. As such, the proposed round trip rate for passenger vehicles only increases by $1 and the recently approved $5 commuter rate is preserved.
In accordance with the Commission’s Public Information Policy, the proposed toll rate adjustments will be communicated to the public during a series of public information sessions in Hampton Roads and on the Eastern Shore during the months of July and August 2013. Once locations and dates have been confirmed, the public information sessions will be publicly advertised. After receiving public feedback, the proposed toll rate adjustment will be considered for potential final adoption at the July 2013 Commission meeting.
To view the complete approved Resolution, please click here.