How Long Is The Bay Bridge In Maryland?
Overall Lengths: Shore-to-shore, including causeway: 4.35 miles (eastbound), 4.33 miles (westbound ); Bridge structure abutment to abutment: 4.03 miles (eastbound), 3.987 miles (westbound)
- 1 How long is the MD bay bridge in miles?
- 2 How long is the bay bridge over the Chesapeake Bay?
- 3 How many miles is it to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel?
- 4 How long is the Chesapeake underwater bridge?
- 5 How many cars have fallen off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel?
- 6 Can you walk across the Bay Bridge Maryland?
- 7 How many miles is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run?
- 8 How long is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in minutes?
- 9 How long is the longest bridge in Maryland?
How long is the MD bay bridge in miles?
Structural details – The bridges’ shore-to-shore lengths are 4.33 and 4.35 miles. They form the longest fixed water crossing in Maryland. The two spans are relatively similar in height; the older span is 354 feet above the water, while the newer span is 379 feet above the water.
The original bridge has two lanes for traffic, while the newer span has three. There are some differences between the bridges due to the design standards at the time the bridges were built. Otherwise, the spans are structurally similar. Both were designed by J.E. Greiner Company (which later became a part of AECOM).
Each span features:
Two main spans over the bay’s two shipping channelsA 3,200-foot long suspension section over the western channel with a maximum clearance of 186 feet at the 1,600-foot main span (which is high enough to accommodate ocean-going vessels and tall ships)A through-truss 690-foot cantilever span over the eastern channelDeck truss and steel girder spans flanking the main spansConcrete beam spans on the portions closest to the shoresA curve near the western terminus, which is required so that the main spans cross the bay’s shipping channels at 90 degrees (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requirements)
The two existing spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. (Photo: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)
How long does it take to cross the bay bridge in Maryland?
About 15-20 minutes to cross.
How long is the bay bridge over the Chesapeake Bay?
Fun Facts about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge › › Fun Facts about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Posted by Holabird Sports · Updated Aug 3, 2020 Sunday is the inaugural 10K Across the Bay Bridge Race! Here are some fun facts about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge:
The Bay Bridge is actually the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge, named after former Maryland Governor William Preston Lane, Jr, who started its construction.
The original bridge span was 4.3 miles long and was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. The original span opened in 1952 while the parallel span was added in 1973.
The bridge spans the Chesapeake Bay, connecting Maryland’s eastern and western shores. It is nearly 5 miles long.
The Bay Bridge is 186 feet high at its highest point.
It is one of the world’s scariest bridges. According to Travel & Leisure magazine, “Drivers are notoriously afraid of this bridge, as it’s subjected to frequent—and often violent—storms. And when the bad weather hits, forget about visibility: get to the middle of this five-mile-long bridge and you can barely see land.”
Even though the Bay Bridge is one of the scariest bridges in the world, it has only been closed four times because of extreme weather. September 18, 2003 during Hurricane Isabel; August 27, 2011 for Hurricane Irene; Oct 29, 2012 for Hurricane Sandy and on March 6, 2013 for the very windy March 2013 nor’easter.
Don’t worry, Sunday’s weather forecast is just about perfect: high of 55 degrees with winds only at 9 mph (the bridge has been closed when winds reach 55 mph or more). If you are running the 2014 Bridge Race, please stop by the Holabird Sports expo area, pick up your Mystery Gift Card (value up to $100) and say hello! Simply mention the Virtual Race Bag ad at the Holabird Sports tent to receive your gift card; however, don’t wait too long, supplies are limited.
How long is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk?
The 4.35 miles of the 10k course takes place over water, on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, near Annapolis. SEE website.
How many miles is it to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel?
|Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel|
|Total length||17.6 miles (28.3 km)|
|Clearance below||75 feet (22.9 m) (North Channel) 40 feet (12.2 m) (Fisherman Inlet)|
|Opened||April 15, 1964 (northbound) April 19, 1999 (southbound)|
How long is the Chesapeake underwater bridge?
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel – the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel includes above-water bridge spans and underwater tunnels Source: 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel – Project Overview Steam-powered ferries provided a regular connection between Norfolk, Old Point Comfort, and Baltimore starting in 1817, but it was not until 1830 that ferries scheduled weekly service to the Eastern Shore. a pre-World War II postcard shows the Virginia Ferry Corporation carrying passengers between Northampton and Princess Anne counties, prior to construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Source: Boston Public Library, M.V. Northampton-Virginia Ferry Co. migratory farm workers took the ferry from Norfolk to Cape Charles Source: Library of Congress, Florida migratory agricultural workers at the Norfolk-Cape Charles Ferry. They are on their way to New Jersey and Migratory agricultural workers at the Little Creek end of the Norfolk-Cape Charles ferry. surplus World War II ships were sunk off the Kiptopeke ferry landing to provide protection from waves Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Townsend, VA 1:24,000 topographic quadrangle (2019) The concrete ships, ” named after pioneers in the science and development of concrete,” are now marketed as a tourist attraction to lure visitors to Kiptopeke State Park.1 the concrete ships are now just a tourist attraction, after the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel ended ferry operations in 1964 Source: Virginia State Parks, Photo contest GetOutdoors! Kiptopeke State Park After World War II, increasing use of automobiles created a stronger demand for a faster crossing.
- In 1952, Maryland built its Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Annapolis to cross the Chesapeake Bay, with a four-mile span to Kent Island.
- In 1957, completion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel demonstrated the potential for a bridge-tunnel combination to overcome the long distance between the Eastern Shore and Virginia Beach, without impeding ship traffic at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Virginia General Assembly created the Chesapeake Bay Ferry District in 1954. It purchased the Virginia Ferry Corporation and began operating the ferries in 1956, the same year the General Assembly authorized a bridge-tunnel facility to link the Eastern Shore to Hampton Roads.
The General Assembly renamed the “Chesapeake Bay Ferry District” and the “Chesapeake Bay Ferry Commission” in 1959, converting them into the “Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District” and the “Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission.” The ferry service, using seven vessels, continued until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1964.
A ferry loaded with up to 60 cars took 90 minutes to go 18 miles at the mouth of the bay, with further delays during storms with strong winds and choppy waves.2 Since 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has carried US 13 between the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Hampton Roads. The facility was officially renamed the Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel in 1987, honoring the local civic leader who is credited with making the bridge-tunnel become a reality. Kellam was the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Ferry Commission while it existed.
He became the first chair of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission in 1959, and held that position until retiring in 1993. Despite the official name change, all signs and publications continue to refer to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.3 The combination of bridges and tunnels crosses 17.6 miles of water from shore to shore, enabling over 3.5 million vehicles each year to cross from Northampton County to the City of Virginia Beach.
Between the toll plazas on the north and south ends, the bridge-tunnel is 20 miles long. Counting the approach roads, the facility is 23 miles long. Each of the underwater tunnels is over one mile long, and the entire project is a major engineering achievement. to limit erosion, massive chunks of granite armor the shorelines of the four artificial islands on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel The 858 bridge spans, 30′ high above the water to avoid wave action and to allow small boats to pass, are supported by 4,805 concrete pilings driven into the sediments at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.
- The longest piling was driven 172′ deep.
- The pile driver was a special machine known as Big D, with steel legs that could be jacked up by compressed air.
- During the Ash Wednesday storm in 1962, the Bid D could not be raised higher than the waves.
- The legs snapped, causing extensive damage.
- After driving the piles, they were cut at the top to ensure a flat and consistent surface.
Three piles were held together at the top by a concrete cap, creating a “bent” to support the bridge decks installed at the end of the construction process. Cutting the pilings to the correct height and installing the horizontal “bent” was done by a unique machine known as the Two-Headed Monster, built solely for that purpose. curving south from Fisherman’s Island, where the North Channel Bridge offers an alternative for small ships to avoid the Chesapeake Channel Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Photo Gallery All of the precast concrete pilings and other materials were manufactured at the new Bayshore Concrete Products plant at Cape Charles.
It was established initially for the project, and continued in business producing concrete materials for other major projects until closing in 2018. Had the company won contracts to supply concrete for the expansion of the Thimble Shoals tunnel, it might have stayed in business even longer. Direct access to a barge dock enabled it to win contracts along the East Coast, including delivery of concrete products in New York for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, and revising Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport.
However, it was not successful in winning a contract to supply concrete products to the second tubes of the tunnels for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Bayshore Concrete Products then closed down. Coastal Precast Systems, which won the contract, was located in the City of Chesapeake. Bayshore Concrete Products built a plant on 90 acres at the town of Cape Charles in 1960, to manufacture precast concrete pilings and other materials for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online The bottom of the Chesapeake Bay is owned by the state of Virginia. over 4,800 concrete pilings support the twin spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Annual Report to His Excellency, the Governor for the Year ending December 31, 2014 (p.25) The two tunnels, each over one mile long, were essential to the project. the Thimble Shoal tunnel is anchored by Island 1 on the south and Island 2 on the north The Thimble Shoal tunnel crosses the old channel of the James River. The US Navy relied upon that deep channel for its warships to access the Atlantic Ocean, and objected to any bridge across the channel. building a tunnel beneath Thimble Shoal, eliminating the potential threat of a bridge blocking ship traffic, satisfied the objections of the US Navy Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Photo Gallery North of the Thimble Shoal Channel, the Chesapeake Tunnel crosses the Chesapeake Channel, the old route of the Susquehanna River before sea level live after the Last Glacial Maximum created the Chesapeake Bay.
- Ships going to Baltimore used that route, and Maryland officials insisted upon a tunnel to ensure that channel would always be open to maritime traffic.
- Even further north near Fisherman’s Island, the bridge is elevated to allow small vessels to pass underneath.
- That enables them to avoid going the extra distance to the Chesapeake Channel, and reduces the traffic congestion there.
The tractor-trailers crossing the elevated bridge sections inevitably encounter the gulls, other seabirds, and even peregrine falcons that constantly fly around the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. No technique has been developed yet to keep the birds from flying near the deck of the bridge, though waving banners and even walls have been considered. high bridges over the North Channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel allow boats to travel underneath the spans without going south to the Chesapeake Channel Source: presentation by Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District to Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel (June 19, 2014) fishing boats utilize the North Channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, as well as the channels above the two tunnels Source: Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal Tunnel sections were prefabricated in Orange, Texas as 300-foot long, 35-foot in diameter steel tubes.
For each tunnel, 37 sections were required. The ends were sealed so the tubes would float, then they were barged to Norfolk. Two of the airtight cylinders broke free from the tugs in the Gulf of Mexico. Both were recovered, though one had washed up on a Texas beach first. At Norfolk, a two-foot-thick concrete shell was added before the sections were towed to the construction site and lowered into a trench previously excavated in the bay sediments.
Once in place, tube sections were welded together and the connections were sealed with a coating of concrete, before the waterproof caps on the ends were removed. The final roadway inside the tube is 24-feet wide, plus a sidewalk less than 3-feet wide on one side.
- The tunnels connect to the bridge spans at four artificial islands, at either end of the Thimble Shoal Channel and the Chesapeake Channel.
- Massive granite boulders, each weighing between 2-4 tons, were brought by rail from the Kenbridge granite quarry in Lunenburg County.
- The boulders were barged into the bay, then dropped to the bottom to form a ring larger than four football fields.
Sand and gravel was pumped into the interior of the ring, and then another layer of boulders was added to raise the height of the column. At the surface, enough boulders were used to create a protective rip-rap that blocked erosion from even hurricane-induced waves.7 Funding the bridge-tunnel required the General Assembly to change its traditional approach for funding highways.
- The Commonwealth of Virginia had followed a “pay as you go” approach since passage of the 1932 Byrd Road Act, but starting in 1956 substantial Federal funding to construct new highways became available.
- Local leaders on the Eastern Shore and in South Hampton Roads recognized that they would not obtain funding from the state or Federal sources soon, and obtained the state legislature’s permission to sell bonds to finance the bridge-tunnel project.
The General Assembly chartered a political subdivision (separate from cities/counties), the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District. It is managed by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission, an 11-member commission appointed by the governor to represent eight local jurisdictions and the state.
Two members are from Accomack County, two members from Northampton County, and one member each from Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, and Newport News. The governor also appoints one member to represent the state. The district includes two members from the Peninsula cities of Newport News and Hampton, showing how the bridge-tunnel was expected to have region-wide economic and transportation impacts.
Only four of the 11 members on the commission come from the Eastern Shore counties, Accomack and Northampton. six other local jurisdictions and the state have voting members on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission, but Accomack and Northampton counties each have two representatives Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online As a political subdivision of the state, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District operates its own police force.
In 2015 the officers issued over 4,000 traffic citations, including nearly 30 for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). All fines are paid into the state’s Literary Fund, so there is no incentive for the district to operate a “speed trap.” Traffic accidents average around 20/year.8 The commission was authorized to issue revenue bonds, which had to be repaid through tolls.
Selling the bonds raised the initial money required to pay contractors to build and manage the new structure. Because the bonds were not backed by a guarantee of funding through local property taxes or the general revenue of the state, the “full faith and credit” of Virginia was not put at risk.
- No state bailout was promised if the toll revenues were inadequate to repay interest/principal to the investors who purchased the bonds.
- The Commonwealth of Virginia provided no construction money to build the initial bridge-tunnel or to expand it, though the state does provide urban street funding now for maintaining the transportation facility.
The new bridge-tunnel provided a 90-mile shortcut for traffic headed north to Delaware and New York compared to I-95, which was also completed in the mid-1960’s. Despite the shorter distance, the better-quality road and faster speeds on the interstate attracted most of the traffic. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel reduces the distance from Norfolk-Philadelphia by 90 miles – but traffic coming up I-95 rarely diverts to Route 13 Map Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wetlands Mapper The lack of business affected the financing for the project.
The bridge-tunnel commission sold $200 million in revenue bonds in 1960, with half of the total assigned to Series C. In 1970, the commission defaulted on the “Chessie C” series, because traffic projections had been too optimistic and toll revenues were inadequate to pay bondholders what they had been promised.
In 1985, revenues had increased, past due interest was paid, and the commission’s credit rating improved.10 revenues have exceeded operating expenses since the 1964 opening, but repayment of the Class C bonds was delayed in 1970 because revenues were below estimates Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Annual Report to His Excellency, the Governor for the Year ending December 31, 2014 (p.2) In 2012, the Fitch bond rating agency affirmed the A- rating for roughly half of the outstanding bridge-tunnel bonds, and noted: 11 The district’s bridge and tunnel facility is monopolistic in nature, serving as the only linkage between the metropolitan Hampton Roads region and Virginia’s eastern shore. four islands were constructed at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to anchor the two tunnels Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Geotechnical Baseline Report, Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel (Figure 1) The initial bridge-tunnel was a two-lane highway. Island One under construction, on south side of Thimble Shoals channel Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Geotechnical Baseline Report, Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel (Figure 7A) The General Assembly approved the first phase of expansion in 1990, and parallel bridge spans were constructed in 1995-99. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel first added parallel spans, but more-expensive parallel tunnels were delayed until a second Thimble Shoal tunnel was started in 2017 Source: 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel – Project Overview With no delays, vehicles drive across the current Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 21 minutes. a closure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel creates the longest detour of any tunnel in Hampton Roads Source: Federal Highway Administration, National Tunnel Inventory Guard rails on the bridges are designed to stop a car/light truck from dropping into the Chesapeake Bay, so long as the vehicle hits a glancing low at not more than 62 miles/hour.
- Between the opening of the facility in 1964 and 2017, 16 vehicles (mostly tractor-trailers) crashed through guard rails and fell into the water.
- Only two drivers survived the fall, and a total of 81 people died in accidents.
- Separating the traffic on the bridge spans in 1999 did reduce the potential for head-on accidents.
Drivers afraid to cross the facility can make arrangements for workers at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to drive their vehicles. During 2015, over 400 drivers with phobias/fears took advantage of this service. The funnel between Eastern Shore and Virginia Beach can create strong winds that are a safety risk on the bridge-tunnel.
- There are six levels of restrictions, starting with limits on campers and towed vehicles when wind speeds reach 40 miles per hour.
- The bridge-tunnel is closed to all tractor trailers when speeds reach 60 miles/hour.
- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District uses different criteria than the Virginia Department of Transportation, which closes most of its bridges when sustained winds reach 45 miles per hour.
About 4 million vehicles use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel each year, Half of them are from Virginia, and half from out-of-state. In 2014, 355,000 trucks crossed the bridge-tunnel. Truckers with empty trailers or light loads, taking US 13 to avoid congested I-95, are especially at risk when wind gusts catch them broadside.
- A southbound tractor-trailer collided with a van in 2018 during a heavy rainstorm, then broke through the guardrail and sank into the Chesapeake Bay.
- The van stayed on the bridge and its occupants survived, but the crash was fatal for those in the tractor-trailer.
- A 2017 crash of an empty tractor-trailer killed the driver and led to the first lawsuit claiming the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was liable.
The widow claimed the truck should not have been allowed on the bridge-tunnel because a 47mph gust of wind struck the toll booth as the truck passed through. Lawyers for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel claimed that the average wind speed was used to implement closures rather than intermittent gusts.
- The average was calculated with the use of four sensors on the bridge.
- Before the empty tractor-trailer was lifted up by a 50mph gust and blown through the guardrail, 80 trucks had been stopped on the Eastern Shore until a storm had passed.
- Then Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel staff determined that the winds had dropped sufficiently to allow travel, but only 79 trucks made the crossing successfully that day.
The lawsuit was dismissed four years later, with the judge ruling that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel had followed its policy and was thus protected by sovereign immunity. In accidents where vehicles go through the guardrail and into the Chesapeake Bay, recovering the wreckage and bodies may take days.
- In 2018 a tractor-trailer and van collided during a heavy rainstorm, and the truck went overboard.
- The wreckage was recovered the next day, along with the body of the passenger.
- The driver’s body was recovered two days after the accident, floating eight miles off Fisherman’s Island.
- In December 2020, a box truck crashed through the guardrails on the northbound bridge.
The truck floated briefly after hitting the water, and the driver disappeared after being spotted floating westward away from the bridge. It was found 100 miles to the south in April 2021, when the body washed up on a beach in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. between 1964-2020, wind was the primary reason that 16 vehicles crashed through the guardrails Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Wind Restrictions The tunnels remain as two-lane bottlenecks. They will be expanded in two phases, starting with a project to add a second two-lane tunnel for the underwater crossing at Thimble Shoal. since 1964, the number of vehicles crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel annually has increased nearly 400% Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Annual Report to His Excellency, the Governor for the Year ending December 31, 2015 (p.2) In 2013, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission committed to the Thimble Shoal Parallel Tunnel Project.
The Parallel Crossing Consortium (PC2) then submitted an unsolicited proposal under the state’s Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) for preconstruction and design services. That proposal was not accepted, and the commission instead invited competitive bids for a design-build contract. All of the original price proposals exceeded the cost estimate, so the scope of the project was revised and a second round of bidding proceeded in 2016.
The final award, for a cost estimate of $756 million, was $260 million lower than earlier bids. The major reduction in cost was accomplished by eliminating much of the Thimble Shoal island expansion. That eliminated a planned restaurant, retail shop and 200 additional parking spots. the fishing pier at Island 1 (Thimble Shoal) was designed so it could be re-opened after the island is widened for a parallel tunnel The construction project for the parallel tunnel at Thimble Shoal was scheduled initially to be completed in five years, in 2022.
That was almost six decades after the bridge-tunnel was first opened. All three competitive bids were based on using a tunnel boring machine, rather than digging a trench and sinking sections of the new tube into it. All 10 previous tunnels in Hampton Roads, including the additional Midtown Tunnel tube that was completed in 2016, had been constructed by the “cut and fill” approach.
Contractors had built sections of the tunnel tube offsite, then floated those sections to the site and sunk them into a prepared trench. The tunnel boring machine was scheduled to excavate 50 feet per day. That pace required a year for the machine to excavate and install tube walls from the southern island to the northern edge of the channel. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel chose to construct the second tunnel at Thimble Shoal with a tunnel boring machine Source: 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel – Project Overview Because the boring machine uses various chemicals to lubricate the blades and move the slurry to the back of the machine, at least some of the excavated sediments will be contaminated with petroleum compounds called “Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons.” Such sediments must be placed in a lined landfill, where the compounds can not leach into a groundwater aquifer. material not contaminated with Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons will be barged 22 nautical miles (NM) to the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site Source: 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel – Project Overview The boring machine, built in Germany, was named “Chessie” after a contest among local sixth-graders. the name “Chessie” was chosen in 2018, while the tunnel boring machine (TBM) was still under construction in Germany Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, TBM Naming Contest When the new tunnel is completed, both lanes of the existing tunnel will be used to carry northbound traffic headed to the Eastern Shore. the tunnel boring machine (TBM) Chessie was shipped in pieces from Germany, then assembled at the expanded southern island so it could start digging Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Tunnel Boring Machine The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission did consider completely replacing the existing two-lane tunnel at Thimble Shoal.
It could have bored a four-lane tunnel at a greater depth than the existing two-lane tunnel, and placed both northbound and southbound traffic in the new tunnel. A new replacement tunnel, buried deeper under the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, would have allowed destruction of the existing and shallower two-lane tunnel.
If the Port of Virginia ever convinces the US Congress to fund future excavation of a deeper shipping channel at Thimble Shoals, both of the two-lane tunnels that will be operating in the mid-2020’s (old and new) will need to be replaced.17 the second tunnel will cross underneath the southern, Thimble Shoals channel Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Project Description boring a tunnel required identifying characteristics of different sedimentary formations underneath the Chesapeake Bay Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Geotechnical Baseline Report, Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel (Figure 3C) The new tunnel will be bored to allow dredging of a future channel 70′ deep.
That exceeds the depth of the 1964 tunnel, which was placed to accommodate a channel that might be dredged to 55 feet. The chief engineer of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel recommended in 2000 that designers plan for a 68-foot deep channel to be authorized in the future, beyond the current 50-foot depth and the authorized deepening to 55 feet.
The decision to use boring machines to excavate the sediments with an underground rotating cutting head, rather than dredging a trench and sinking pre-made tubes, made the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel the third bored tunnel in the United States. The two previous bored tunnels were constructed in Miami and Seattle.
- Boring technology was also chosen for expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, making it the fourth bored tunnel in the country.
- The boring machine uses blades at the head to cut into the sediments and create a hole, which is then lined with nine large concrete rings and a tenth “key” to form the new tube.
Excavated sediments are moved as a slurry via conveyor belt to the back of the boring machine and hauled away. The blades are lubricated with petroleum-based additives. If they contaminate the excavated material with over 50 milligrams of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) per kilogram of soil, then the material must be transported to a lined landfill.
The cheaper alternative, depositing contaminated material at an ocean dumping site or in an unlined sand pit onshore, is not environmentally acceptable.18 Few container ships are expected to need a depth greater than 55 feet in the future, but coal exporters from Norfolk could use bigger ships that require a deeper channel.
Coal is heavier than the cargo in the containers, so ships carrying coal from Norfolk and Newport News sink lower into the water and require a deeper channel. The 50-foot deep Chesapeake Channel is not used by ships carry heavy loads of coal from Norfolk to Europe.
- The most-heavily loaded ships are carrying containers, going to and from Baltimore located 175 miles further north.
- The expense of deepening the channel beyond 50′ through the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore would exceed the benefits, so there is no justification for the future parallel tunnel in the Chesapeake Channel to be installed any deeper than the 50″ of the current tunnel.
The final design of the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel will allow deepening the shipping channel below the currently-authorized 55-foot depth by up to 15 more feet: 19 The approximate 5,700 linear feet of new tunnel will be constructed with a top of tunnel depth at least 80 feet below Mean Low Water Elevation 0.0 within the width of the 1,000-foot wide Thimble Shoal Navigation Channel and will include a minimum ten feet of riprap over the tunnel providing a minimum channel depth of 70 feet below Mean Low Water Elevation 0.0. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District highlighted the tunnel expansion project in its 2014 annual report Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Annual Report to His Excellency, the Governor for the Year ending December 31, 2014 Traffic across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is seasonal.
- The annual average is 11,000 cars per day, but in summer the demand peaks to 25,000 cars per day.
- Even without the new tunnels, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel still has greater capacity than demand during most hours.
- Traffic normally flows freely at the designated speed limit.
- There is not a commuter rush-hour traffic jam where the four-lane bridges constrict into the two-lane tunnels under the Chesapeake Channel (the old path of the Susquehanna River) and the Thimble Shoal Channel (the old path of the James River), but there are occasional delays around noon.
Once volume exceeds 1,100 vehicles per hour, the merge required to pass through the two-lane tunnels causes some delay. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel crosses two ancient river channels Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bathymetric Data Viewer In 2012, the maximum traffic volume on the bridge-tunnel was 1,411 vehicles per hour. Consultants predicted a 1.7% per year increase in traffic annually until 2030, though estimates ranged from 0.9% to 2.1% annual growth.20 a projected a 37% increase in traffic crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel between 2012-2030 helped justify selling bonds to add a new tunnel at Thimble Shoal Source: Federal Highway Administration, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Environmental Assessment (p.22) Building a new tunnel was justified in part by the expected growth in traffic, in part to allow complete closure of tunnels for maintenance, and in part to ensure continued operations in case of disaster.
- A floodgate did not close at Portsmouth’s Midtown Tunnel in 2003 during Hurricane Isabel, and that flooded tunnel was closed for weeks.
- Single tunnels are single points of potential failure In 2018, traffic in both directions on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was limited for 17 hours, with a complete blockage for 10 hours.
A truck carrying heavy equipment that exceeded the 13′ 6″ height limit entered the Thimble Shoals Tunnel. The equipment, an 11-ton vibrating hammer needed for construction of the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project, struck the ceiling of the tunnel and then fell into the roadway.
The too-high load was not caught by normal checks because the hammer was already on the bridge-tunnel when it was loaded onto the truck. Some drivers were trapped on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in a seven-mile backup; some experienced delays that lasted over five hours.21 Adding two more lanes at Thimble Shoal will reduce merge-related delays for northbound traffic, but will not improve the flow for traffic coming south from the Eastern Shore.
Southbound traffic must first pass through the tunnel at the Chesapeake Channel. Traffic exiting the Chesapeake Channel Tunnel and proceeding south to the Thimble Shoal Tunnel will already be constrained to 1,100 vehicles per hour. The increased capacity for southbound traffic flow at Thimble Shoal tunnel will be realized only after the second tunnel is built to cross the Chesapeake Channel. hourly volumes of traffic on a typical off-peak day in 2012 Source: Federal Highway Administration, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Environmental Assessment (p.6) hourly volumes of traffic on a typical holiday weekend in 2012 show a peak earlier in the day, compared to a typical off-peak day Source: Federal Highway Administration, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Environmental Assessment (p.6) traffic crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel peaks in the summer vacation season Source: Federal Highway Administration, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Environmental Assessment (p.4) In 2012, the two-lane bottleneck at Thimble Shoal Tunnel caused a delay for less than 3% of the traffic headed northbound on the bridge-tunnel. delays at the toll plazas occur when traffic reaches 1,350 vehicles per hour, despite the E-Z Pass lanes Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, Annual Report to His Excellency, the Governor for the Year ending December 31, 2014 traffic will be delayed at the toll plaza to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel for only a few hours per year, primarily between 11:50am-1:50pm Source: Federal Highway Administration, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Environmental Assessment (p.18) Drivers on congested I-64 near Newport News or I-95 north of Richmond might envy expanding the capacity of a road experiencing so few delays, but upgrading those interstates could not be funded by revenue from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
- Tolls from bridge-tunnel users are dedicated to maintaining and expanding the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
- The new tunnel project was added to the Hampton Roads 2034 Long-Range Transportation Plan and the Hampton Roads 2012-2015 Transportation Improvement Program in 2014 by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District self-finances its construction and maintenance costs using tolls paid by drivers, so building the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel did not require approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The project was not ranked in the Smart Scale analysis conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
- The new tunnel was not funded by the state’s share of the gas tax or other revenues dedicated to transportation improvements in Virginia.
- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District’s financial reserves were not adequate to fund the new tunnel; the district had to borrow money.
- To finance construction of the new tunnel across Thimble Shoal, the district issued bonds for $756 million in 2016.
The district also borrowed from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and obtained a Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. They offered lower interest rates than what was available from bonds sold to the private sector. funding for the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel comes from various sources, but ultimately all revenue to pay for the project is generated by tolls from vehicles crossing the structure Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project, Project Description The commission had planned to start construction in 2021, but accelerated the date due to low interest rates. the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel includes two underwater tunnels, one under the Thimble Shoal channel for shipping traffic to reach Hampton Roads and one under the Chesapeake Channel for traffic to Baltimore Source: Joint Legislative Audit And Review Commission, The Future Of The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (Figure 3) Reflecting the financial constraints imposed by funding construction through revenue bonds, which are repaid by tolls on users of the bridge-tunnel, the construction of parallel tunnels underneath the Chesapeake Channel (north of the Thimble Shoal Channel) was not planned until 2040.24 The planned opening of the new tunnel below the Thimble Shoal Channel quickly fell two years behind schedule, and the completion date was pushed back to 2024.
A subcontractor was fired for non-performance, and the rip-rap around the southern island was thicker and deeper than expected. Construction of the tunnel under the Thimble Shoal Channel started with widening the south island so the Tunnel Boring Machine could excavate through soft soil. Expansion of the south island at Thimble Shoal required construction of a coffer dam, in order to protect the island from erosion when the granite boulders were moved out of the way.
The contractor planned to drive steel pilings for the coffer dam straight through the rip-rap, but pushing steel through the granite boulders turned out to be harder than expected. Only one or two piles could be driven each day. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel officials interpreted the construction contract to say the extra costs would have to be absorbed by the contractors. building parallel tunnels will require widening the existing islands Source: 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel – Project Overview In addition to building parallel tunnels at the Chesapeake Channel, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel could be expanded to build a link to the Peninsula at Hampton.
- That theoretical construction option will remain just theory, because there is not enough traffic to justify the cost.
- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel finances its construction through tolls of drivers who use the road, not through taxes on all residents in the state.
- An extension to the Peninsula might spur economic development on the Eastern Shore, but users of the road would bear the costs through increased tolls to finance additional construction.
Increased demand for land on the Eastern Shore might provide windfall profits for property owners on the Eastern Shore, but the people receiving the benefits (landowners) would be separate from the people paying the costs (drivers paying higher tolls).
- The assessment of costs vs.
- Benefits also shaped the 2017 decision to close the Chesapeake Grill restaurant and Virginia Originals gift shop on Sea Gull Island, the southern base for the Trimble Shoal tunnel also known as “Island One” and as “One Island in the Bay.” It would have cost an additional $200 million to build space for a replacement facility as part of the parallel tunnel.
An official with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel said bluntly about financing a tourist stop in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay: 26 It could never pay for itself. when they closed in 2017, the restaurant on Sea Gull Island was known as the Chesapeake Grill and the gift shop was called Virginia Originals Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Facts the Virginia Originals gift shop on One Island in the Bay offered a unique location for buying Virginia-made products Source: Virginia Originals & Chesapeake Grill One Island in the Bay the restaurant, souvenir shop, and visitor overlook on Island 1 closed on October 1, 2017 (click on images for larger versions) after losing its location on One Island, Virginia Originals opened a small gift shop within the North Toll Plaza Rest Area and Welcome Center Source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Restaurant and Gift Shop Bridge-tunnel managers have adjusted toll rates, and even created a discount program for local residents.
In 2001, the roundtrip price was dropped from $20 to $14 (later increased to $18) if the return trip was completed within 24 hours. During the May 15-September 15 “Peak Season,” costs were increased for trips made on Friday thru Sunday. In 2013, a Discount 30/30 Toll Rate was created. After a customer made 30 trips (i.e., 15 roundtrips) in a one-month period, remaining trips for that month cost only $5 each way.
By 2022, the discounted price was $6 per trip: 27 This $6 one-way toll rate is available to travelers who make 30 one-way trips across the CBBT within a 30-day period, utilizing the same E-ZPass transponder for all 30 trips.
How deep is the water under the Bay Bridge MD?
This mesmerizing bridge that transforms into a tunnel is an ‘engineering wonder’ If you plan to travel down Virginia’s Eastern Shore to get to the beach this summer, you might drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. As its name implies, the structure functions as both a bridge and a tunnel.
- After the $200 million structure’s completion in 1964, the American Society of Civil Engineers “one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world.” To construct it, workers dug huge underwater ditches for two tunnels and lined them with rocks.
- They then lowered plugged-up pieces of the concrete tunnel into the ditches.
To allow cars to drive through, the workers then unplugged the tunnel pieces. The tunnels run about a mile under the bay, allowing ships and boats to travel over them, The Washington Post. The tunnels connect to the bridge sections via four manmade islands that are each as large as a football field.
The depth of the water ranges from 25 to 100 feet, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission. Before the structure was built, 50 to 60 cars at a time would drive up onto ferries, which would carry them across the water, with the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel included only one northbound and one southbound lane until 1999, when one more lane was added in each direction.
Over 100 million cars and trucks have driven on the bridge-tunnel since 1964. Construction of a that would help alleviate traffic is expected to begin in fall 2017 and be completed by 2022. Called the Thimble Shoal Channel, it would connect to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s existing roadway. Construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, early 1960s. Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission : This mesmerizing bridge that transforms into a tunnel is an ‘engineering wonder’
How much does it cost to cross the Bay Bridge in Maryland?
Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) | MDTA. E-ZPass ® Maryland Rates:
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How much does it cost to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland?
Tolls are dependent on the type of vehicle you are driving when you cross. Passenger cars and pick-up trucks are $13 one way on Monday thru Friday; $15 if you are traveling on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday before September 13. A round-trip discount is offered ($5/$3) if you make a return trip within 24 hours and utilize EZPass for all toll payments.
How many cars have fallen off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel?
$6 million lawsuit filed in trucker’s fatal plunge off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel The wife of a truck driver who lost his life when his rig fell off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 2017 has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that he should have never been allowed on the bridge in the first place. Last week, Billie Jo Chen filed suit against the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) for $6 million for negligence in the death of her husband Joseph Chen, the reports.
NEW: Photo of the tractor-trailer that went over the side of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel(Courtesy John Wray) — The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot)
Joseph Chen died on February 9, 2017, after his truck plunged off the bridge into the Chesapeake Bay as he hauled a load of empty pallets south on the 17 mile long structure. The cab of the truck separated from the trailer and sank. Joseph Chen was spotted after the crash standing on the trailer and was rescued by a Navy helicopter as he was floating in the water but died on the way to the hospital from hypothermia.
The CBBT’s own wind policy forbids trucks hauling empty and light trailers from crossing if wind speeds higher than 46 m.p.h. are recorded. From the CBBT’s website on Level 2 Wind Restrictions (47 m.p.h.): The following types of vehicles will not be allowed to cross the facility during Level 2 wind restrictions: motorcycles; large pick-up campers; camper trailers; house trailers; anything being towed; vehicles with any exterior cargo; empty tractor-trailers, not to include empty tanker trucks*; small six-wheel trucks such as moving vans, rental trucks, school buses, etc.
Tractor-trailers must gross 15,000 pounds payload in addition to the weight of the rig and six-wheel trucks must gross 15,000 pounds payload in addition to the weight of the rig in order to be allowed to cross the facility during Level 2 wind restrictions.
According to the lawsuit, wind speeds of 50 m.p.h. were recorded in the area by a WeatherHawk gauge at the CBBT’s Island 4 — near where Joseph Chen went over the side of the bridge. In the weeks following the crash, police heard from several witnesses who said that the truck was blown off the bridge but concluded that the crash was most likely due to driver error.
CBBT Police Chief Edward Spencer, “He went to pass the tractor-trailer. He cut over in front of passenger car, and once he got over in the left lane, he ran up on curb and through the guard rail.” According to court filings in the Northampton County Circuit Court, CBBT officials are arguing sovereign immunity against Chen’s suit, a tactic designed to protect government entities from frivolous lawsuits.
Can someone drive me over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel?
11 answers. Yes, the CBBT does have an escort service. This service is provided for passenger vehicles and advance arrangements are requested. To learn more, please contact the Operations Division at (757) 331-2960 x40.
Is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 17 miles long?
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel was built from 1960-1964 to replace the ferry service between Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Hampton/Newport News. The bridge was built over two of the most important shipping channels in the world and the tunnels allow ships to cross from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay.
- In 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was named one of the “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World”.
- From 1995-1999, a second bridge was built.
- This second bridge expanded the bridge from two lanes to four lanes.
- The tunnels were not made into four lanes because there wasn’t enough money to expand them.
The bridge is a beam and tunnel bridge and is made of steel and concrete. It cost $450 million to build and no tax money was used to build it. The bridge is more than 17 miles long and about 9,700 vehicles cross it every day. On busy summer days, sometimes close to 20,000 vehicles cross the bridge.
- There are two tunnels, four islands and two bridges that this bridge touches.
- The tunnels are Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel and Chesapeake Channel Tunnel.
- The bridges are called North Channel Bridge and Fisherman Inlet Bridge.
- The islands are manmade and about the size of the Yankee Stadium.
- Birds think the islands are real and stop to rest while they migrate.
The columns that support the Bridge-Tunnel are called piles. If you lay the piles down from end to end, they would be about 100 miles long! The North Channel Bridge is the highest bridge. There is 75 feet from the water to the bottom of the bridge for fishing boats to go under them.
Does the Chesapeake Bay Bridge turn into a tunnel?
Both a tourist attraction and a travel convenience, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach near Norfolk with Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
What is the best time to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?
Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Can you walk across the Bay Bridge Maryland?
Your only chance to run or walk across the majestic Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is typically closed to pedestrians. Now organized by Corrigan Sports, Maryland’s premier race company, you can expect a fun, well managed event open to runners and walkers alike.
How many miles is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run?
OVERVIEW – The Bay Bridge Run is one of the largest, most exciting mid-distance events anywhere.4.35 miles of the 10k course takes place over water, on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, near Annapolis, Maryland.
How many miles long is the Chesapeake Bay?
Width and Depth – The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles (300 km) long. At its narrowest point, the Bay is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide. At its widest point, just south of the mouth of the Potomac River, it is 30 miles (50 km) wide. The Bay and its tributaries contain an astounding 11,684 miles (18,804 km) of shoreline.
How long is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in minutes?
It’s a great piece of engineering. The roadway is two lanes in one direction, the 2 tunnels are one lane in each direction, and maybe a mile long. Speed limits are posted, police are always patrolling. It’s approx.20 miles long, so 15-20 minutes one way.
- The views are spectacular, unfortunately due to construction you can no longer stop at the rest area midway.
- Luckily, we’ve always had good weather crossing, and not much traffic, but most drivers seem to be adhering to speed limits (45-50 ).
- It’s a comfortable ride.
- Go on their web site for up to date information.
over a year ago Problem with this answer?
How long is the longest bridge in Maryland?
Can’t-Miss Views Over Chesapeake Bay – While covered bridges offer a quaint beauty, there’s no denying the impact of large open-air bridges like the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge, It’s Maryland’s most famous bridge—which is actually two bridges—and at just over four miles, they are the longest bridges in the state.