From the mainland, the CBBT extends U.S. highway Route 13 over the water with a pair of two-lane bridges. After a few miles, the bridges connect and dip underground into a small manmade island and tunnel to allow the passage of ships on the bay. The roadway resurfaces at a second manmade island approximately one mile after the first. It then splits again into two bridges for several miles until the next tunnel, which mirrors the first in its construction. Some miles after the second tunnel, the bridge lands on the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula at Cape Charles, Virginia, and Route 13 continues north.
Over time, the CBBT paid off. The commission repaid its debtors and the project began to make a profit. The money, however, was reinvested into the bridge-tunnel for future renovations and expansions. Late in the 1980s, the commission began researching an expansion. Not only was traffic beginning to back up, but the two-lane roadway was also dangerously narrow. The expansion, to be financed by more toll-revenue bonds, would add the parallel bridges that connect only at tunnels. Also, the older portion of the bridge tunnel needed restoration. At a cost of $197 million contracted to various construction firms, the parallel bridge and renovation project was completed and the roadway reopened on April 19, 1999.
1954 - The government of Virginia creates a Chesapeake Bay Ferry Commission to acquire and manage the Chesapeake Bay ferry corporation in anticipation of creating the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
April 15, 1964 - The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is completed, taking less than four years.
1965 - The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the "Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World."
April 19, 1999 - At a cost of $197 million, contracted to various construction firms, the parallel bridge and renovation project to update the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is completed and the roadway reopened.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Holst, A. M., & Encyclopedia Virginia staff, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. (2011, April 19). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Chesapeake_Bay_Bridge-Tunnel.
- MLA Citation:
Holst, Arthur M. and Encyclopedia Virginia staff. "Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 19 Apr. 2011. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 28, 2009 | Last modified: April 19, 2011
Contributed by Arthur M. Holst and Encyclopedia Virginia staff. Arthur M. Holst is the government affairs manager for the water department of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.