HRBT expansion is moving full speed ahead


NORFOLK,Va (WAVY) — Who among us hasn’t been stuck in traffic on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel?

It is an extremely busy crossing explained.

“At peak travel is about 100,000 vehicles through the corridor, through the tunnel [a day],” said HRBT Expansion Communications Manager Annalysce Baker.

The HRBT expansion project aims to alleviate backups by adding two new tunnels and four additional lanes. It is the largest highway project in Virginia history and 10 On Your Side checked in to see how it’s moving along.

In the last month, you might have seen signs of progress. There is a new layer of sand on the North Island that will eventually be the new eastbound lanes and twin tunnels.

“We will have two general purpose lanes. We’ll also have a hot lane and a flexible shoulder similar to what you see like on I-264,” Baker said.

What you can’t see is the progress on the south side where crews put in underground concrete barriers called slurry walls. They are 190 feet deep. The tunnels will be dug within the walls.

“One thing a lot of people may not know is the current tunnels, they’re immersed tube tunnels and these tunnels are going to be bored tunnels on a boring machine,” Baker said.

That boring machine is set to arrive sometime before the end of the year. In May, the machine was assembled and it passed its factory acceptance test. Now it’s being disassembled and will be loaded onto a ship from Germany to come to Virginia.

It will be reassembled here and the digging should start mid-year in 2022.

We asked if COVID-19 has caused any slowdowns in getting supplies or making them more expensive. Baker answered there has been no increase in the $3.8-billion budget.

“There have been some you know I would say delays or issues with getting some supplies but the project is still on track to be complete in 2025,” she said.

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