Chesapeake Bay Bridge Project Gets Huge Financial Boost

Financing has been completed for an additional two-lane tunnel in the Chesapeake Bay.

Tue January 10, 2017 - Southeast Edition #1
Construction Equipment Guide

A jack-up barge takes borings of the channel.
A jack-up barge takes borings of the channel.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that financing is complete to build an additional two-lane tunnel under the Thimble Shoal Channel, west of the existing Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT). The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission will finance the $756 million project primarily through federal and state bonds.

“This new tunnel will expand capacity and improve safety for travelers who use the CBBT, as well as protect the economic competitiveness and quality of life of the Hampton Roads region,” said McAuliffe. “The CBBT is the only direct link between Hampton Roads and Virginia's Eastern Shore, making this facility a vital and convenient connection, supporting commerce in the region. I am proud to announce this expansion as part of our administration's ongoing commitment to reducing congestion and spurring economic growth through smart transportation planning.”

The Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Design-Build project was awarded in July by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission to Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture, comprised of Dragados USA and Schiavone Construction LLC. Construction is expected to begin October of 2017.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission has financed the project through the following:

• $338.5 million federal bond — Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national significance, such as the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project.

• $50 million state bond — The Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank offers low-interest loans and grants to localities, transportation authorities and private-sector partners for transportation projects and provides an alternative source of financing for transportation needs in the commonwealth.

• $321.5 million Revenue Bond Issue

• Remaining funds for the project come from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District's General Fund.

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne added, “The Commonwealth's infrastructure bank issues low-interest loans to help fund high-priority projects that will improve transportation and benefit the economy. The Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel is a regional transportation priority, included in the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization's long-range planning and improvement program. The new tunnel will carry more traffic safely and efficiently, further improving transportation for the entire region.”

CBBT Commission Chairman Frederick Stant III said, “The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission and District greatly appreciate the important investments in this project that have been made by the Build America Bureau, the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, and the Revenue Bond holders. We are very pleased that the blended cost of capital for this project is fixed at approximately 3.20 percent.

About the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel:

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a four-lane, 20-mi. (32 km)-long vehicular toll crossing of the lower Chesapeake Bay. The Bridge-Tunnel is operated by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District and governed by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission.

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