Under the Bay
Trip Start May 18, 2012
22Trip End Jun 09, 2012
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For over 46 years, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has captured worldwide attention as a modern engineering wonder and an important East Coast travel convenience. Crossing over and under open waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, the Bridge-Tunnel provides a direct link between Southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Eastern Shore counties in Maryland and Virginia), and cuts 95 miles from the journey between Virginia Beach and points north of Wilmington, Delaware.Following its opening on April 15, 1964, the Bridge-Tunnel was selected "One of
the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" in a worldwide
competition that included more than one hundred major projects
FROM FERRIES TO FIXED CROSSING
From the early 1930's to 1954, a private corporation managed scheduled ferry service between Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. With the number of ships (including the number of passengers and vehicles they transported) increasing steadily, the Virginia General Assembly stepped in to create the Chesapeake Bay Ferry District and the Chesapeake Bay Ferry Commission as the governing body of the District; subsequently the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District and Commission. The Commission was
authorized to acquire the private ferry corporation through bond financing, improve existing ferry service and implement a new service between Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Hampton/Newport News area.In 1956, the General Assembly authorized the Ferry Commission to explore the construction of a fixed crossing
CONSTRUCTION OF PARALLEL PROJECT
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission began investigating the possibility of building a parallel crossing in 1987. By 1989, in-house studies and projections and a comprehensive study conducted in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation concluded that parallel bridges, trestles, and roadways would be needed by the year 2000 to meet future traffic demands and provide a safer crossing for travelers.
The Virginia General Assembly in 1990 thereby empowered the Bridge-Tunnel Commission with the authority to proceed with the Parallel Crossing Project.Beginning in 1991, revenue bonds were sold to finance engineering, environmental and traffic studies. Sverdrup Civil, Inc., Consulting Engineers to the District, was selected to design, prepare specifications and contract documents, and be Construction Manager for the project.On May 4, 1995, the Commission awarded a construction contract in the amount of $197,185,177 to a joint venture of PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. of Denver, CO, The Hardaway Company of Columbus, GA and Interbeton, Inc. of Rockland, MA, to build a second span parallel and adjacent to the original Bridge-Tunnel. The project, which expanded the two-lane facility into four lanes, included expansion of toll plazas, trestles, bridges and roadways, and maintenance and repair on the original span. The project did not include the expansion of the four manmade islands or additional tunnels. Tunnels will be constructed at a later date.The project, financed by monies from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District and through the sale of additional revenue bonds, was completed in April, 1999. No local, state or federal tax monies were utilized for the construction costs.