VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia. November 10, 2020 (WAVY) — If you travel to or from the Eastern Shore often, you’ve seen quite a few construction crews on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The “Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project” is set to add a new tube and was scheduled to be complete in two years, but there’s a delay in the project. Construction of the new tube is now about two years behind schedule.
The nearly $756,000,000 project is now set to wrap up in mid 2024. Officials with the project tell 10 On Your Side there’s quite a few roadblocks in the way. The new tube, that would carry two lanes of traffic toward Virginia Beach, was slated to open in 2022. “One (reason) was really due to subcontractors that was working on the project. That subcontractor just wasn’t working out,” said Tom Anderson, Deputy Executive Director for Finance Operations.
“The other year was lost due to a permit that a contractor had let lapse that allowed them to do the work in the water to build the rock berm off of the island, which the tunnel would go underneath.” Anderson said both of those hurdles are no longer an issue. So, why the delay? “The new challenges they’re facing are some rocks that are from existing berm that covers the existing tunnel and the TBM is not made to bore through these materials.”
This is an issue he said is to be expected. “You know, there’s certainly an obvious rock berm that exists in the area and so not every rock is going to be exactly where it may have been at original construction.” He said project planners are working on ways to solve the problem involving the existing rocks. However, he says he doesn’t believe they’ve come up with a solution just yet. He said there’s not going to be any significant traffic impacts due to the delay and adds there’s no additional costs.