After exiting the tunnel, traffic will shift to temporary bridge
The HRBT Expansion Project reaches a crucial marine milestone with the completion of a temporary bridge, allowing construction to begin on a new, permanent structure.
Motorists traveling on I-64 East (towards Norfolk) should anticipate a shift in traffic at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel starting on Sunday, February 19. Both lanes of traffic on I-64 East will shift to the left onto a temporary marine bridge upon exiting the tunnel. This temporary bridge will allow crews to demolish a portion of the existing bridge to build the new permanent structure in its place. When construction on the new permanent bridge is complete, traffic will shift onto the new bridge, and the temporary bridge will be removed.
The temporary bridge is constructed with steel piles as part of the foundation. Steel piles are well suited for heavy traffic loads, while also making it easier for crews to remove the temporary bridge once traffic is shifted to the permanent bridge.
With the new future bridge connecting to the South Island at the same point as the current bridge, bridge construction must be completed in phases to accommodate VDOT’s commitment to maintaining two lanes of travel during peak hours. Safety is our top priority.
It is important that all drivers are patient, obey posted speed limits and drive distraction-free. Please pay attention to the digital message signs for important messages.
Why are temporary bridges necessary?
The HRBT Expansion team has committed to; Maintaining two travel lanes in each direction during peak times. Constructing the project within the existing VDOT right-of-way so that there are no impacts to any properties.
In order to adhere to these items the project must be approached in stages.
More specifically for this traffic shift, phases are required for the construction of the marine trestle bridges to accommodate the narrow construction work zone. Crews have constructed a temporary marine bridge to maintain traffic flow, while they demolish a portion of the existing bridge to build the new permanent structure in its place.
What will happen to the existing marine bridges?
The current bridges will be replaced as part of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion project.
The existing bridges are approaching their expected design life span, and once all traffic is moved onto the temporary bridges, these older structures will be demolished. The new permanent bridge will be an eight-lane superstructure constructed seven to ten feet higher on average to accommodate sea level rise.
When will the traffic shift happen? How will I know?
The first shift in lanes will occur as early as January 28, 2023. As motorists traveling on I-64 East (towards Norfolk) exit the tunnel, they will be shifted to the left onto the new lanes of the temporary bridge.
There are many ways to receive travel alerts and stay informed before you travel:
Visit the HRBT Expansion website: HRBTexpansion.org
Follow @HRBTExpansion and @511hamptonroads on Twitter
Download the free Virginia 511 mobile app, visit 511virginia.org or call 511.
Are the temporary bridges safe?
Yes, the temporary bridges meet all VDOT highway and bridge safety standards. The term temporary only refers to the fact that they will be removed once the permanent structures are constructed.
What are the temporary bridges made of?
The foundation of the temporary bridges consists of steel piles driven deep into the seabed, topped by pile caps, girders bands and a bridge deck. The roadway is constructed of concrete, similar to permanent bridges.
What will ultimately happen to the temporary bridge?
When the new permanent bridges are completed, traffic will be shifted to the permanent structure and the temporary bridges will be dismantled. The steel piles will make removal easier than if the foundation had been constructed of concrete piles.
Where will the new bridges be constructed?
Because the HRBT Expansion Project is being constructed within the existing VDOT right-of-way, crews need to demolish a portion of the existing bridge in order to access and build the new structure. The new bridge will be built in the same general path as the existing eastbound bridges.
How many lanes will the new bridges have?
The new bridge will be a superstructure that accommodates eight travel lanes, compared to the two existing bridges that accommodate only two lanes each. This greater capacity will increase safety, ease congestion, and improve emergency evacuation readiness.