Chessie began her initial excavation at the tunnel’s headwall in February 2023, marking the official start of tunneling for the Parallel Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel. To date, she has installed more than 100 rings and advanced more than 700 feet from the launch pit.
In May, pieces of steel were found on the TBM’s conveyor belt that were identified as parts of an old anchor. CTJV recovered two pieces, one of which identified the manufacturer as W. L. Byers & Co.
The W. L. Byers company was in business in Sunderland, England from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s and produced ship anchors. At this time, the construction team has no way of knowing how old the anchor is, or what type of vessel may have lost the anchor. The only thing for certain is that it was buried in the Bay bottom, directly in the path of Chessie.
Encountering obstructions while tunneling is not an uncommon occurrence and CTJV is now in the process of implementing a plan to construct a safe haven in front of the TBM. When the safe haven is complete, CTJV will drive the TBM into the safe haven and perform a maintenance intervention. During this intervention, workers will access the cutterhead from inside the TBM, working from the backside of the cutterhead, to remove any remaining pieces of metal. CTJV will also perform a thorough inspection of the cutterhead and replace any tooling that may have been damaged by the ship anchor. Full tunnel mining is expected to resume in February 2024.
On Two Island, the contractor is busily preparing the island to receive Chessie. The receiving pit has been excavated and concrete base slabs are being installed, one per week. Work on the receiving pit is approximately 80% complete and will be finished in 2024.
Work also continues off the south end of #2 Island, where the marine crews are constructing the engineered berm. The engineered berm will be a newly constructed piece of the island to allow Chessie to transition from the Bay bottom to #2 Island.