The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (“CBBT”) and its partners on the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project are excited to announce the winning name for the tunnel boring machine: CHESSIE!
The winning entry was submitted by Grace Bentley of Nandua Middle School, located in Onley, VA.
According to the video entry, “Chessie” was a natural choice, founded on the legend of the sea monster who lives deep within the Chesapeake Bay. Sailors who have spotted this creature describe Chessie as a long, snake-like creature, so it is analogous to the 325-foot long TBM that will dig its way through the Bay bottom. The name has remained popular in the Chesapeake Bay region over the years and personifies many things, including boats, trains, trails and animals.
A Review Committee selected the Top 10 names from more than 120 entries received from 6th grade students from Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and the Eastern Shore. The Review Committee was comprised of representatives from the Project partners: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission; Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture; Jacobs; Mott MacDonald; HNTB; and Women’s Transportation Seminar, Hampton Roads Chapter.
Naming a tunnel boring machine (TBM) with a female name dates back to early mining traditions, when miners looked to Saint Barbara to protect them as they worked underground. The naming of the machine in advance of it beginning to work is a sign of good luck for the project ahead.