It’s big, bold and not boring.
Well, technically it is – just not what you think.
The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project is inviting local middle school students to participate in a naming contest for the Tunnel Boring Machine, a highly-specialized piece of equipment designed to bore through deep soils and construct new twin tunnels.
“This contest draws attention to the real-world applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies and celebrates the creativity of future drivers in the region,” said HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback. “We welcome the participation of the students and look forward to seeing the entries.”
The TBM Naming Committee is looking for a creative name, real or fictional, with ties to the Hampton Roads community, Virginia, transportation, or engineering.
Historically, naming a TBM has been thought to bring good luck to a project, and similar contests have occurred locally, across the United States, and internationally, according to a news release from VDOT.
The deadline for participants to submit ideas is Nov. 13, 2020, and the committee plans to announce the winning name at a ceremony in Spring 2021.
First, second and third place winners will be recognized at the ceremony.
The committee has posted details of the contest to the project page and is communicating directly with the schools, which represent all localities within the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission District Membership, according to VDOT.
The TBM is under construction in Germany and will be assembled in Hampton Roads. Tunneling is expected to occur between 2022 and 2025.
The I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel has long been one of the region’s most congested corridors. When complete, the $3.8 billion project will ease congestion on Interstate 64 (I-64) through the addition of twin, 2-lane bored tunnels and the widening of 4-lane segments along I-64 in Hampton and Norfolk, VDOT officials said.
The existing 3.5-mile facility consists of two 2-lane immersed-tube tunnels on artificial islands, with trestle bridges to shore. These tunnels opened in 1957 (current westbound lanes) and 1976 (eastbound lanes) and are approximately 7,500 feet long. Traffic on these four lanes exceeds 100,000 vehicles per day during peak summer traffic.
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