HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Whether you’re driving through it, or working on it, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel looks a little different every time you see it these days.
Brooke Grow with the Virginia Department of Transportation took 10 On Your Side around the $3.8 billion project in early August. As of Monday, much has been completed on the work to add two new two-lane tunnels since construction began in November 2020.
Mary, the boring machine, is in the ground, but operating her alone will take a bulk of the project’s time due to the way they’re turning her around, even though they have the fastest option.
“We do this, or we deconstruct — we take her apart, and then we rebuild her,” Grow said. “That would take way too long, so we’re going to take off the gantries, place her on the nitrogen skates, and then we’ll turn her slowly. It could take up to four months, if not longer, to rotate her.”
Meanwhile, Grow said crews have mined nearly 1,700 feet beneath the Hampton Roads harbor for the new tunnel.
Remember those tunnel rings we got a look at being created on the Eastern Shore? They’re down there too.
Mary the boring machine is hard at work — already laying 244 of them. They’re forming the beginning stages of one of two tunnels drivers will use.
You may also notice plenty of activity on the North Island lately. That’s where even more transportation history is being made.
Soon, construction crews will be pouring more than 5,400 cubic yards of concrete, becoming the largest concrete pour in VDOT history.
And although history is being made, it seems, on a regular basis, the project has faced normal delays.
At first estimation, contractors were hoping to wrap up work in 2025. Now, VDOT estimates that they’re about a year behind schedule.
“It’s going to be a huge achievement for the department when it’s finished,” Grow said.