News & Updates
Virginia Launches Largest Infrastructure Project in Commonwealth’s History
HAMPTON—Governor Ralph Northam joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and state and local leaders to break ground on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project today. The $3.8 billion project will increase tunnel and interstate capacity along 9.9 miles of Interstate 64 between Hampton and Norfolk, reducing congestion and easing access to the Port of Virginia and the world’s largest Naval base.
“For too long, traffic in the Hampton Roads region has bottlenecked at the tunnel,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Folks in this region deserve an easier, more reliable commute. This is the largest project in our history, and it will ensure that people can move around faster, that commerce flows more easily, and that we finally connect the Peninsula and the Southside. This project will make everyone’s lives easier when it is completed.”
“The world’s best designers, builders, engineers, and technology are converging here in Virginia to build your new tunnel,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “We are bringing every asset to the table to give people what they may value most—time.”
Virginia crews will use a highly-specialized tunnel boring machine to dig through soil and construct tunnel segments simultaneously. The advanced technology is used in the construction of highly complex projects such as Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway. The new HRBT is only the fourth roadway project to use this equipment in the United States. The machinery is under construction in Germany and is expected to arrive in Hampton Roads in 2021 for assembly, which will take several months. It is expected to begin tunneling operations in early 2022.
“VDOT is using this advanced boring technology for the first time ever,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “We’re doing it because this is one of the nation’s most important maritime channels, and this technology means less disruption to military and commercial activity, and less impact on marine life.”
The project has received support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), federal, and local partners. Design-build contractor Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) received Notice to Proceed for full construction activities in September. The project is expected to be completed in November 2025.
“The HRBT expansion project is a great example of how the legislature, VDOT, and HRTAC are working together to achieve a greater vision for transportation in Hampton Roads and provide solutions to bring the region out of gridlock,” said Kevin Page, HRTAC Executive Director.
A Project Administration and Funding Agreement with HRTAC first announced in April 2019 commits 92 percent of locally-sourced funding for the expansion. Additional financing includes $200 million from the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE program and $108 million from VDOT.
In addition to alleviating congestion for motorists, the completed project will benefit tourism, the Port of Virginia, and the military—three critical industries in Hampton Roads. The expansion is projected to bolster the economic competitiveness of in Hampton Roads with more than $4.6 billion in investments and an estimated 28,000 new jobs over the life of the project.
The Commonwealth has worked to maximize the participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) businesses across the Commonwealth on the performance of contracts for this historic project. More than 160 DBE and SWaM agreements have been executed so far as part of the project, representing more than $87 million in contract awards.
The HRBT Expansion Project will add twin, two-lane bored tunnels and widen the four-lane segments of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, and in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods.
State and regional leaders including Secretary of Transportation Valentine, VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, Suffolk Mayor and HRTAC Chair Linda Johnson, and representatives from VDOT, HRTAC, and HRCP attended the social-distanced groundbreaking event with Governor Northam. Video of the groundbreaking ceremony is available here.
Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia | P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
HRBT Expansion Project Stakeholders Committee Meeting
On August 27, Project Director Jim Utterback led the third quarterly HRBT Expansion Project Stakeholders Committee (Virtual) Meeting. At this briefing, HRCP Project Executive José Martin Alos provided an update on current construction operations as well as projections for upcoming work this fall. Committee members also received updates on recent state and federal permits issued for the project; the success of the DBE/SWaM outreach and engagement activities with a goal of more than $300 million in awards throughout the project; and highlights on the upcoming TBM naming contest for middle school students in Hampton Roads.
Click HERE to view presentation.
USACE Issues Permit for HRBT Expansion
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Norfolk District, on Tuesday August 11, 2020 formally issued a Department of the Army Permit #NAO 1994-1166 (VMRC permit number #19-1577, DEQ Individual Permit Number 19-1577) to Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) for the widening of Interstate 64 between Hampton and Norfolk (9.9 miles) and the construction of twin two-lane bored tunnels next to the existing HRBT. Click here to view the permit.
USACE issues Section 408 Determination for HRBT Expansion Work
The Section 408 Determination evaluates Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) project design with respect to Federal navigation projects operated and maintained by the USACE, however, "the proposed construction does not impair the usefulness of the project, nor harm the public interest," according to USACE. Click here to read more.
The HRBT Expansion Project's Bird Management Plan
The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project’s Bird Management Plan has been completed. This living document will be updated and revised as necessary to adapt to the needs of the Marine Colonial Birds. This plan will work in unison with larger efforts by the Commonwealth to address the needs of the Marine Colonial Birds. These efforts include extensive coordination between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) - formerly known as the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - as well as ongoing projects by DWR designed to provide alternative nesting habitat for these birds. (pictured below: seabirds relocated to Ft. Wool)
Preliminary construction work on the HRBT Expansion Project is underway at the South Island and seasonal nesting birds have made their return to the area as well. But this year, border collies are being used to coax the throngs of migratory birds to safer nesting grounds nearby. Click here to view the story. (pictured below: Border Collie to keep migratory birds at bay)
HRBT Expansion Project Stakeholders Committee Meets
CHESAPEAKE, VA - The HRBT Expansion Project Stakeholders Committee convened for their first meeting at The Regional Office in Chesapeake, VA. The meeting, facilitated by Project Director, Jim Utterback, briefed the committee on the project timeline and updates.
One more sign of project progress.
NORFOLK, VA - The official sign marking the location of the Virginia Department of Transportation's Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project Office is now up at 240 Corporate Boulevard in Norfolk. The HRBT Expansion Project is co-located with Hampton Roads Connector-Partners (HRCP-Design Builder) in the Norfolk, Va office building.
NORFOLK, Va - Self-propelled lift boats will have a birds-eye view of the existing HRBT trestles for the next four months as they work to collect geotechnical samples to support the design of the new HRBT bridges, twin bored tunnels and island work.
DBE/SWaM: Outreach Event held Sept. 11, 2019 at Hampton Rds Convention Center
Ceremonial Signings: HRBT Funding and Project Agreements
NORFOLK—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the execution of agreements critical for advancement of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The Commonwealth has signed a Project Agreement for Funding and Administration (PAFA) with the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), and a Comprehensive Agreement with design-build team Hampton Roads Connector Partners for the HRBT Expansion Project.
Governor, Secretary of Transportation Attend Signing of Funding and Comprehensive Agreements
Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine look on as VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich today ceremonially signed funding and comprehensive agreements in Norfolk to deliver a new $3.8 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.
HRBT: Technical Talk
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Frank Fabian, PE, PMP, VDOT's Project Design Manager for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion, addressed the American Society of Highway Engineers' (ASHE-Mid-Atlantic Region) Technical Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia on March 18, 2019.
Mr. Fabian outlined project challenges, presented concept roadway and bridge features, discussed bored tunnel construction, HRBT island expansion and improvements, and identified needs for new and rehabilitated operational facilities.
VDOT's Frank Fabian Speaks to Norfolk's South Bayview Civic League
NORFOLK — Frank Fabian, Design Project Manager for the HRBT Expansion Project, outlined plans for widening I-64 in the project corridor and building twin two-lane tunnels to members of Norfolk's South Bayview Civic League on March 14, 2019.
Deputy Project Director Martha Gross is Guest Speaker at American Society of Civil Engineers Luncheon
NORFOLK — On March 6, 2019, Martha Gross, Deputy Project Director for the HRBT Expansion Project, was guest speaker at the joint technical luncheon for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)-Norfolk Branch and the Structural Engineering Institute of Norfolk.
NORFOLK—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has selected Hampton Roads Connector Partners, a design-build team, to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The fixed price ($3.3 billion) and fixed completion date (November 1, 2025) contract is expected to be executed in April 2019.
HRBT Expansion Topic of CIVIC Leadership Day
Fifty executives and Hampton Roads leaders who participate in the 2019 CIVIC Leadership Institute learned about the HRBT Expansion Project on December 6, 2018 from Jim Utterback, Project Director.
Utterback was invited as a guest speaker at the leadership institute's December Program Day. Moderator Cathy Midkiff Lewis focused discussion on Getting There from Here: Transportation in Hampton Roads.
VTCA briefed on HRBT Expansion Project
Hampton, VA - The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA) Hampton Roads District Dialogue featured a briefing on VDOT's largest construction project-the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion. Attendees viewed a video of how a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) operates and Project Director Jim Utterback highlighted key project segments. The briefing also included early estimates on quantities of concrete, steel, excavation, armor stone, asphalt, aggregate and earthwork needed for the new bridge-tunnel project.
Utterback Addresses Small Businesses
HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback was a guest speaker for VDOT's Transportation DBE Advisory Committee at the Business Opportunity and Workforce Development Center (BOWD) in Sandston on November 15. The presentation was offered to DBE and SWaM firms interested in learning more about the HRBT Expansion Project. Videoconferencing was available for the presentation.
Project Outreach Continues
HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback (left) listens as the director of the Hampton Veterans Administration Medical Center and his senior staff discuss limiting potential traffic impacts near their interstate access.
Big Project, Biggest DBE/SWaM Event Yet!
VDOT Civil Rights and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project Team hosted a DBE-SWaM event for businesses interested in participating in the HRBT Expansion Project. More than 500 individuals and businesses registered for the event which was held Oct. 25 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.
VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich (above) told the attendees the opportunities that exist on the project over the next six years touch nearly every aspect of construction, engineering and related support services. They also heard from the project's director and the two teams competing to build the project.
Vendors (above) offering support services for DBE and SWaM businesses were on hand to answer questions about what businesses can do to compete for work on VDOT's largest construction project. And, small business owners also had a chance to question the firms (below) hoping to win the construction contract.
Project Director Jim Utterback Meets with Hampton Rotary Club
Members of the Hampton Rotary Club (pictured above and below) peppered HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback with questions about construction of the new HRBT Tunnel on Thursday, October 18, 2018. Many remember the East and Westbound tubes being constructed and are anxious for the new bored-tunnel and I-64 improvements to help ease congestion at the heavily traveled water crossing between Southside Hampton Roads and the Peninsula. Several recall paying the original toll to drive between both shorelines and one Rotarian even recalled the ferry that used to shuttle passengers between Norfolk and Hampton.
Project Director Jim Utterback Explains Timeline of Tunnel Boring Machine to Norfolk Planning Commission
Interest is growing in the planned bored-tunnel approach for the new Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project. Project Director Jim Utterback was invited to the Norfolk Planning Commission on October 11, 2018 to explain the project timeline to commission members and to answer questions about how a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) operates. The construction contract for the new tube and a wider I-64 between Hampton and I-564 in Norfolk is scheduled to be awarded in early 2019, and the project is expected to be completed in 2025.
Virginia State Police Briefed on HRBT Expansion Plans
HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback sat down with Captain C. Sterling and several of her command staff members on October 3, 2018 to brief VSP on the status of the HRBT Expansion Project. Utterback detailed plans for a bored-tunnel approach and explained a timeline for the project going forward, including a contract award date of Spring 2019.
Peninsula Residents Inquire About HRBT Expansion Plans
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck (pictured holding red notebook) was among the 100 mostly Peninsula residents who turned out for the second of two Design Public Hearings on Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion plans.
Residents received an up-close look at the proposed path for roadway improvements and a bored-tunnel and VDOT project engineers were able to address their right-of-way questions.
Large Turnout in Norfolk for HRBT Expansion Hearing
Approximately 175 citizens turned out for a Design Public Hearing in Norfolk on Aug. 15th to learn more about expansion plans for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Numerous positive comments were received about the selected bored-tunnel construction method and the fact that there are no planned business or residential relocations. The hearing attracted residents, local and state elected officials, industry personnel and civic league leaders.
Extensive Media Coverage For The Hearing
Project Director Jim Utterback (left) was interviewed by the ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, in addition to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, at the hearing.
Norfolk Vice-Mayor Thomas Receives Project Updates
Project Design Manager Frank Fabian (notebook in hand) briefs Norfolk Vice-Mayor Martin Thomas about potential designs for Southside corridor improvements.
Another Design Public Hearing is scheduled for August 16 at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Hampton from 5pm-7pm.
Promoting Public Hearings
HRBT Expansion Design Manager Frank Fabian walks WVEC 13 News Anchor Ashley Smith and photographer Jon Goodwin through plans for expansion of the HRBT. The news crew was preparing a story to advance the August 15th (Norfolk) and August 16th (Hampton) Design Public Hearings.
Discussing HRBT Expansion with the Navy
HRBT Expansion Project Director Jim Utterback, Deputy Project Director Martha Gross and Frank Fabian, project design manager, met with CAPT Michael R. Moore, Chief of Staff for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and other Navy officials on August 2, 2018 to review plans for the HRBT expansion project. Outreach to the military is an important part of the expansion planning process as VDOT works to minimize impacts to the Navy and operational readiness.
NORFOLK – As a milestone in the procurement process for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion project, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has announced the project will move forward with the bored-tunnel construction method to deliver the next connection across the Hampton Roads harbor.
Quality is Their Mission
Jacob Brown (pictured front, with tie) a Certified Construction Manager (CMAA) and a VDOT engineer for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project, spoke to members of the American Society of Quality- Section 1128 in Virginia Beach on July 26, 2018 about plans for the next connection of the HRBT.
ASQ, which describes itself as "passionate about Quality in more than 150 countries," formed a local chapter in 1991. Their focus is quality and process improvement and they had several great questions about the expansion project due to be awarded in early 2019.
Public Invited to Attend Design Public Hearings
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Ocean View Elementary School
350 West Government Ave.
Norfolk, VA 23503
Thursday, August 16, 2018
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saint Mary Star of the Sea School
14 North Willard Ave.
Hampton, VA 23663
Find out about plans for I-64 improvements from Settlers Landing (Exit 267) in Hampton to I-564 (Exit 276) in Norfolk.
Design Public Hearing Drawings (PDF)
Concept Plan Roadway (53 MB)
Concept Plan Bridges (3 MB)
Hampton City Council Receives HRBT Update
HRBT Project Director, Jim Utterback, provides Hampton City Council with a progress report on HRBT expansion plans. He also informed them of Design Public Hearings on the project scheduled for August 15, 2018 at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk and August 16, 2018 at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School in Hampton. Both hearings begin at 5 p.m.
HRBT Project Director Addresses Norfolk City Council
HRBT Project Director Jim Utterback provides an update to Norfolk City Council members and staff on June 12, 2018 about expansion plans for the HRBT.
HRBT Environmental Assessment Re-Evaluation Issued
Citizens invited to open houses to provide comments
SUFFOLK, Va. - The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) Re-evaluation to the Hampton Roads Crossing Study Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The EA Re-evaluation, signed by FHWA on June 7, 2018, was necessary to update estimated impacts for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project as identified in FHWA’s 2017 Record of Decision (ROD).
The updates include identifying High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes as the management option for the corridor. On January 10, 2018, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the designation of HOT lanes on the new capacity of I-64, including at the HRBT. The CTB action led to the Re-evaluation. The EA considers a part-time driveable shoulder in the HOT lanes, as well as new connections between the HOT lanes and I-564. The EA also evaluates the inclusion of an undeveloped area on Willoughby Spit as a future tunnel construction staging area.
The EA is available on the study web site (www.hamptonroadscrossingstudy.org) and at VDOT’s Hampton Roads District Office located at 1700 North Main Street, Suffolk, Va. 23434. An online survey about the EA can also be found on the study web site, located on the Meetings web page. Findings of the EA re-evaluation will be presented to the public during two Citizen Information Meetings to be held:
The open-house format runs from 5-7 p.m. both days. There will be no formal presentation. VDOT representatives will be present to discuss the study and answer questions. Citizens are also invited to provide written or oral comments at the meeting or submit them by July 20, 2018 to Mr. Scott Smizik, VDOT Project Manager; 1401 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219. You may also e-mail your comments to Scott.Smizik@VDOT.Virginia.Gov. Please reference “HRCS Re-evaluation” in the subject heading.
Following the public review, responses to substantive comments received on the re-evaluation will be forwarded to FHWA as part of VDOT’s request for a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). Issuance of a FONSI would indicate that the proposed refinements do not introduce any new significant impacts that were not already accounted for in the SEIS and Record of Decision.
RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Transportation today released the draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The draft RFP contains instructions to short-listed firms for developing individual approaches to best deliver the HRBT Expansion Project as a design-build contract under the Public-Private Transportation Act. The Draft RFP is available to short-listed firms and the public for comment at www.p3virginia.org/projects/hampton-roads-bridge-tunnel-2/.
P3 STEERING COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS HRBT PROJECT
The I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project will be included in the Committee's agenda.
RICHMOND – Three private-sector teams will be invited to submit technical proposals and prices to design and construct the Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has concluded its evaluation of Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) with the shortlisting of private-sector teams, with three submitting SOQs to the department on March 2, 2018, in response to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) dated Dec.15, 2017.
Firms submit Statements of Qualifications
SUFFOLK- Three private-sector teams are competing for a chance to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project. The three submitted Statements of Qualifications that could advance them to the next review stage.
RICHMOND - Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich today announced that Hampton Roads District Administrator Jim Utterback will take on the role of Project Director for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project – the largest transportation project in Virginia in a corridor vital to the commonwealth’s economy, military readiness and regional connectivity.
Jim Utterback, HRBT Project Director