Friday, March 31, 2023

Progress Being Made on the HRBT Expansion Project

Progress is being made on the HRBT Expansion Project. (Courtesy of VDOT-HRBT Expansion Project)

HAMPTON ROADS — With construction underway on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is sharing project updates.

Crews are continuing to work on the long-awaited HRBT expansion in preparation for “Mary,” the tunnel boring machine (TBM), to start tunneling at the end of the year. 

“The project team continues to work through challenges and move forward with completing the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Commonwealth,” Project Director Jim Utterback said.

With 28 bridges along the HRBT Expansion project corridor, the project team is warning motorists to drive safely through the work zone during these winter months as bridges and overpasses tend to freeze before the roadway.

A major component in constructing the project’s new tunnels is the curved concrete panels that will form the walls of the tunnel.

Each measuring 15 feet wide, 6 feet eight inches long, 18 inches thick, and weighing 12 tons, the tunnel lining segments will be placed by “Mary.”

Each ring of the tunnel will contain nine of these tunnel lining segments, with the twin tunnels consisting of a total of 2,388 rings, or 21,492 segments.

Taken from ground-level using a fisheye lens, the photo captures the project’s Demonstration Liner, which is comprised of two full rings stacked vertically to confirm proper geometry and tolerances. (Courtesy of VDOT-HRBT Expansion Project)

Once tunnel boring begins later in the year, the segments will be shipped to the project site by barge, 18 rings at a time.

Since September 2020, the project crew has repaired more than 200 potholes along the project corridor to make the drive as smooth as possible for motorists.

“This work we are doing within the corridor is a cost savings for vehicles and safety for motorists,” Maintenance of Traffic Manager for HRCP Brian Ballard said. “But it’s important that while our crew members are working, we all do our part. Slow down. Be aware of workers who are sometimes in lane closures in the middle of the road at night making these repairs. Everyone’s safety is paramount.”

Additional project progress includes preparing structural steel for the dock to receive TBM components and concrete segments, and preparing to place concrete using a long-reach concrete pump for the TBM assembly area at the South Island.

Girders are also being set for the EB I-64 bridge widening at Oastes Creek.

Additionally, the HRBT Expansion Project’s “On the Job Training Program” (OJT) offers training and apprenticeship opportunities to develop a career in the construction industry.

WYDaily will continue to keep you posted with news regarding the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project.


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