VDOT gives official go-ahead to start construction on $3.8B HRBT expansion project


Map of HRBT Expansion | Courtesy of VDOT

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Drivers may see some changes around the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel starting soon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s HRBT Expansion project hit a new milestone: VDOT has issued a notice to proceed to Hampton Roads Connector Partners, the company charged with building the $3.8-billion expansion.

The project will add twin two-lane tunnels next to the existing HRBT tunnels. It will also widen Interstate 64 around the tunnels.

The milestone comes one month after Hampton Roads Connector Partners received all necessary state and federal permits to begin the work on the 9.9-mile expansion.

“Acquiring the permits for a project of this magnitude in 16 months was a remarkable effort. The coordination and collaboration among HRCP, federal and state agencies, and VDOT was a key to the success. Our goal is to continue this collaboration as we issue NTP and move into detailed design and construction of the project,” said HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback.

The project is funded using regional sales and gas tax collections, and $200 million from the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE transportation prioritization program

Until now, the work on the expansion was limited to “geotechnical borings and early work on the HRBT South Island to prepare the site for the Tunnel Boring Machine.”

The boring machine will launch from the island in early 2022 to start excavating the new tunnels.

VDOT says drivers should expect to start seeing pile-driving activity in the water for the replacement and widening of the bridges.

Expansion of the North and South Island will also begin as early as this fall.

Construction and tunneling is expected to span about 55 months from late 2020 until 2025.

“Motorists should pay attention to new interstate signs and electronic message boards detailing roadwork ahead and be mindful of crews working behind concrete barriers on the interstate,” VDOT wrote in a news release.

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