Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia


Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Spans Chesapeake Bay
Lanes 2×2 / 1×2
Total length 28,300 meters
Main span ?
Bridge deck height 23 meters
Opening 15-04-1964 / 19-04-1999
Traffic intensity 8.800 mvt/day
Location Map

According to Ablogtophone, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) is a river crossing in the United States, located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.


Spanning the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a 28.3 kilometer bridge-tunnel combination. The connection consists of two parallel girder bridges with two single-tube tunnels in the Chesapeake Bay. The US 13 in Virginia runs across the connection from Virginia Beach to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Seen from the south, traffic first crosses two parallel girder bridges with 2×2 lanes. This bridge connection is 5.4 kilometers long until an artificial island, after which a 1,750 meter long single-tube tunnel with oncoming traffic follows. This is followed by a 6 km long parallel girder bridge with 2×2 lanes, after which you reach another artificial island and follow a 1,655 m long single-tube tunnel with oncoming traffic. This is followed by a 8.9 kilometer parallel girder bridge with 2×2 lanes up to Fishermans Island. Between Fishermans Island and the mainland of the Delmarva Peninsula is a 650-meter girder bridge, but it is not usually considered part of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.


A schematic of the bridge tunnel.

North-south traffic along the US East Coast has been hampered by estuaries, estuaries and bays, the largest of which is Chesapeake Bay. This is why important historic north-south routes, such as US 1 in Virginia, always ran further inland. Interstate 95 in Virginia has also been built much further inland. There was only a ferry service on site. US 13 in Virginia was on ferry service from the 1930s.

A feasibility study was carried out in the 1950s, which showed that a fixed connection was technically feasible. Due to the intensive shipping and in particular the accessibility of the Port of Norfolk for the US Navy, a full bridge was not an option, so two tunnel segments were chosen. The connection was far too long to construct a complete tunnel of 28 kilometers using the techniques of the time. Moreover, the costs thereof were far too high.

The first connection was built between 1960 and 1964, this is the eastern bridge, which had 2 lanes with oncoming traffic. This bridge and tunnels were inaugurated on April 15, 1964. The bridge was a toll road from the start. It was not a record-breaking bridge-tunnel connection in length, but remains one of the longest bridge-tunnel connections over water worldwide.

Road safety was an issue on the narrow two-lane bridge, which had no emergency lanes. It was therefore decided to double the bridge connections with a second parallel span with 2 lanes and an emergency lane for traffic heading south. This second connection was constructed between 1995 and 1999. At the time, it was also planned to double the tunnels to two tubes, but this has been postponed for the time being due to cost considerations and the relatively low traffic volumes. The second span of the bridge links cost $200 million.


Since the second span of the bridges was opened in 1999, there has also been talk of doubling the tunnel tubes. Because the tunnels are old, opened in 1964, it is also being considered to completely replace the tunnels. The costs of this were originally estimated at approximately $1 billion, which cannot be recouped with tolls due to the relatively low traffic volumes. However, with a design change, construction of the second tube of the tunnel under the Thimble Shoals was awarded $756 million on July 27, 2016. Construction of the second tube began on September 18, 2017 and was scheduled to begin. to open in October 2022, but the project took years longer than expected, with a revised opening date of January 2027. The new tube is being built with a tunnel boring machine. The second tube is 1,749 meters long.

Construction of a second tube of the Chesapeake Channel Tunnel is not expected until after 2040.

Traffic intensities

In 2011, 8,800 vehicles crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel daily.


The connection is a toll road in both directions. The toll is $12 for passenger cars. A return will cost an additional $5 dollars if made within 24 hours. The E-ZPass has been accepted since 2007.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia

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