NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — If you’ve driven on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel recently, you’ve seen the ongoing construction as part of the HRBT expansion project.
“Right now, you’re going to see a lot of widening happening on I-64,” said Annalysce Baker, Communications Director for HRBT Expansion Project.
When the project is complete, drivers can expect two new, two-lane tunnels. I-64 will also be widened in some places in Norfolk and Hampton.
“On West Evans Street, we have a long closure detour there so we can start on widening I-64 and there’s actually a lot of work happening on the south island and the north island, but people don’t normally see that cause they’re passing through and can’t see it if they’re sitting in traffic,” Baker said.
Sitting in traffic, that’s an activity HRBT commuters know all too well. When crashes happen and vehicles stall, the bridge-tunnel often shuts down. Project officials hope the increased capacity will alleviate some of that congestion.
“There will be 2 general purpose lanes,” Baker said, There will also be a drivable shoulder that will be optional as well and then another project will come in and implement the hot lanes. So, people will be able to use the express lanes. They’ll have more lane options when there’s congestion.”
The project is expected to be complete by 2025.
You’ve seen all the construction at the project site, but what you haven’t seen are the faces and brains behind it?
“This project is unique,” said Megan Pym, Manager for Island Expansion. “There are so many different people. I mean, you walk down the hall and hear three different languages. I’ve never seen that in construction.”
“I came down here for basketball,” Pym said. “Played for ODU. I was part of four conference championships there. My first project was at pier 5 at Norfolk Naval and then kind of traveled around projects and now I’m back here on this project.”
When she wasn’t on the court at ODU, you could find her studying civil engineering. She’s spent 11 years working in construction and says the HRBT expansion project will be one to remember.
“The number of women. You know, we were in a meeting the other day one guy walks in and you’re like ‘hey you’re outnumbered'”.
A first for Megan in her construction career and a moment she hopes will not be the last for other women
“I’m from a small town,” she said. “2,500 people and now I’m here on this mega project. STEM, all of this, is a great opportunity for women. There’s so much advancement.”