February 2024 Edition
A Message from Project Leadership
Ryan Banas, Project Director
It’s hard to believe we're already a month into 2024. As we look ahead toward another productive year, we're also celebrating the many amazing accomplishments achieved throughout what shaped up to be the HRBT Expansion Project’s most constructive year to date with physical progress abounding throughout the corridor. 2023 was capped off with another major milestone as Mary reached the halfway mark on her first of two tunnels. Since, she has surpassed 70%, meaning more than 5,659 ft have been mined beneath the Hampton Roads Harbor! 

While we’re proud of what has already been completed, we’re even more excited for what the rest of 2024 has in store as we continue the mission to deliver VDOT’s largest ever construction project.
A few of the major milestones we expect to see achieved in 2024 include: 

  • Opening the southern half of the new Mallory Street Interchange overpass. 
  • Shifting traffic onto the new eastbound North Trestle between Hampton and North Island. 
  • Starting construction of buildings on the islands to support the new tunnels. 
  • Moving traffic onto the newly widened portions of the eastbound Willoughby Bay Bridge. 
  • Mary’s breakthrough on North Island, 180-degree rotation, and launch for her second tunnel. 

We hope that the many newsletters, social media posts, magazines, and our visibility in the community has provided a front row opportunity to share in the amazing work that is being completed on the project. Over the next year, we look forward to sharing the above milestones and the many other accomplishments the project is poised to achieve. To support this effort, we look forward to opening the project’s visitor center on 4th View Street in Norfolk later this spring to continue providing opportunities to highlight the region, the complex nature of the Expansion Project, and the people that make it all possible. 
2024 starts with the potential to be another banner year in moving closer to increasing capacity, easing congestion, and enhancing travel time reliability across the Hampton Roads Harbor. I have the utmost confidence in our team that we will continue to show the region, the Commonwealth, and our national and international audiences that Hampton Roads is a place where big things get done as we deliver worldclass facilities that will shape Hampton Roads for generations to come. 
As we kick off the new year, if you’re searching for ways to be the best version of yourself, keep in mind one resolution that will never go out of style; put down your phone, focus on the road, and be alert in work zones! 

Stay Safe, 
Ryan Banas
Construction Advances in Willoughby Spit Area
Progress Update on 1st View Street and W. Evans Street Bridge Work  
Work on the HRBT Expansion Project has advanced in many areas since the last update. Interstate roadway and bridge widenings, construction of the new north and south trestles, and the mining of the first of two new tunnels continue into the new year. Efforts to widen landside bridges along I-64 continue, but noticeable progress on 1st View Street and W. Evans Street in Norfolk are worth highlighting here.
1st View Street

With much of the rehabilitation work completed on the existing bridge and foundation and substructure work completed for the bridge widening, crews were able to lift the closure and detour on 1st View Street and reopen the road to traffic in late November. 

Construction still to be completed on the 1st View Street bridges includes driving pile and setting girders on the westbound bridge widening, abutment, pier rehabilitation work and superstructure work (the installation of structural insulated panels, decking, and roadway) on both the eastbound and westbound bridges. 
Image 1: Construction work to widen 1st View Street bridge on I-64 Eastbound
Image 2: New substructure of widened bridge on I-64 Eastbound

During the road closure construction crews drove pile, built piers, and set girders for the widening of the I-64 bridge over 1st View Street. Image 1 shows the girders placed to the right of the existing eastbound bridge which will support the superstructure of the new bridge. Image 2 shows the new abutment, piers, pier cap, and girders forming the substructure of the new bridge.
W. Evans Street
Like 1st View Street bridge, progress toward rehabilitation of the W. Evans Street bridges along with foundation and substructure work for its widening advanced to the point where the full closure and detour was no longer needed. W. Evans Street reopened to traffic in late December. 

Image 3 shows construction work on W. Evans Street to widen the eastbound bridge. Image 4 shows the new abutment, piers, pier cap, and girders forming the substructure of the new bridge. 

Upcoming construction efforts include retaining wall installation and superstructure work (the installation of structural insulated panels, decking, and roadway) on both the eastbound and westbound bridges.
Image 3: Construction work to widen W. Evans Street bridge
Image 4: New substructure of widened W. Evans Street bridge
Fall 2023 Project Tour Video
Just in time for 2024, we're reflecting on the team's progress and looking forward to conquering new feats in the months ahead. Join us as we invite you to follow Project Director Ryan Banas for an inside look at what's been happening on the HRBT since last Spring. Our diverse and skilled team of engineers, contractors, and craftsmen have made significant headway toward major milestones, already marking several as complete, such as the largest concrete pour in VDOT history. As we bore into 2024, we have a list of goals. Click the image below to discover details about scheduled bridge demolitions, traffic shifts, roadway expansions, and more. 
Project Progress Photos
January 2024
North Island Receiving Pit
North Marine Trestles
South Marine Trestles
Mallory Street Interchange
Willoughby Bay Bridge
Oastes Creek Bridge
Mason Creek Bridge
The Perfect Pour
After months of meticulous planning and coordination, the HRBT Expansion Project Team achieved another record-breaking milestone following the seamless execution of VDOT’s largest ever continuous concrete pour. On November 19, 2023, nearly 200 team members completed a 31-hour pour to place 5,480 cubic yards of concrete at the base of the North Island Receiving Shaft. "The perfect pour" was a critical part of preparing for the 9-million-pound tunnel boring machine to be received, turned around and sent on its way back toward Norfolk to bore the second tunnel. Crews had a maximum of 40 hours, three concrete boom pumps, 33 mixer trucks to deliver 500 loads of concrete,1.5 million pounds of reinforcing steel, and an airtight plan in place, but they only had one chance to get it just right. 

As one of the project’s most challenging and calculated operations to date, the success of the pour required the expertise of a multicultural and motivated team of specialists. Together, they accepted the challenge of developing an innovative approach that mitigated hazards and promoted efficiency. According to HRCP Tunnel Approach Structure Manager Alvaro Rumbos, several strategic planning decisions before the first concrete was mixed made their biggest pour the best yet. The collective decision to conduct the pour free of bulkheads drastically reduced preparation time while simultaneously improving efficiency for the rebar install. Read more...

Watch a timelapse video of the North Island Receiving Pit Base Slab Concrete Pour for a play-by-play of the historic undertaking.
Say "hello" to the management team for the big pour!
(Left to Right) HRCP’s Alvaro Rumbos, Antoine Souviron, Mathieu Marchioro, Mounir Alkassab and WSP’s Todd Grifka.
Alvaro Rumbos and Ryan Shaw celebrate a hazard-free operation with the Safety Crew of the Month belt.
Addressing the Distance: The Slurry Booster Pump
One of the newest pieces of equipment on the project is helping Mary, the tunnel boring machine (TBM), and Katherine, the slurry treatment plant (STP), with a bit of a boost to keep up the pace. Now more than 5,600 feet away from where she launched in April 2023, Mary must pump the excavated material, known as “slurry,” an ever-increasing distance to continue reaching Katherine, where the material is treated and transported for disposal.

In helping the dynamic duo of Mary and Katherine maintain productivity and surpass their record of 107 feet bored in a single day, HRCP installed the first of multiple booster pumps along the slurry line. The team of two became a trio just before Mary reached the halfway mark on her first of two tunnels. The main slurry pump began showing signs of reaching its capacity. The solution was to install the project’s first booster pump. Although nameless, the addition is already proving to be a game changer.  Read more...
HRBT Wins Pinnacle Award
On November 9, 2023, the project's communications team proudly accepted the Public Relations Society of America Hampton Roads (PRSA HR) Pinnacle Award for the HRBT interactive online platform.  
This innovative infographic is a go-to resource for project enthusiasts, illustrating the intricate tunneling process and offering a step-by-step guide to the project's progress. Explore it here and stay tuned for more creative updates from the team! 
'T' isn't just for Tunneling -- It's also for Trailblazing
(Left to right) Christopher Hall, VDOT Hampton Roads District Engineer, Congressman Rob Wittman, Deputy Director Joe Schulman, Delegate Anne Ferrell-Tata, and Project Director Ryan Banas watch as the HRCP team installs a tunnel segment inside the tube.  
After visiting Naval Station Norfolk last October, the project team welcomed NAVSTA Norfolk’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Janet H. Days and her team to tour the islands.  
As the state's largest project of its kind, the HRBT Expansion Project is leading the region by example in delivering innovative infrastructure. Influential leaders from across Hampton Roads are visiting the site to witness the magnitude of the expansion and envision the limitless possibilities for transportation, engineering, economic development, and regional connectivity. As the team always says, it's more than a tunnel project. It's a transformation.  
See who stopped by in December to learn more about the path HRBT is trailblazing for the future of transportation! 
Commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Rear Adm. Wesley McCall and his team traded in their uniforms for safety gear to embark on a day underground. 
Leadership from the City of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) meet Mary, the Tunnel Boring Machine.
HRBT on the Go
The HRBT Expansion Project team is hitting the road and heading to a neighborhood near you. Whether your home, local business, school zone, or community hub is along the construction corridor, or your neighbors are curious about changes to their commute, we want to meet you in 2024! 

Stay connected to schedule changes, detours, progress updates, and Q&A when you join the HRBT Expansion Project Facebook Group. Reshare announcements to spread the word in real-time. For a more in-depth discussion about how the project affects your community, email us today at [email protected].
Employee Spotlights
HRCP's Holiday Helpers
Despite their busy schedules, HRBT Expansion Project team members made time again this year to stand in for Santa’s helpers by collecting donations for the 2023 Salvation Army Angel Tree program. The annual Angel Tree initiative empowers organizations to make a positive difference in their cities, providing a platform for gift-giving for hundreds of thousands of children and seniors in need nationwide. We are proud to have played a small role in such a big day for so many. With the enthusiastic participation of employees from VDOT, HRCP, and a host of subcontractors, the project team fulfilled 80 wish lists. Special thanks to all who contributed to the effort by coordinating, spreading the word, shopping, and delivering gifts to the North Pole.   
The Power of a Team Player
Alvaro Rumbos
Tunnel Approach Structure Manager, HRCP

You've heard all about the "perfect pour." Now meet Alvaro Rumbos, one of the most integral players in pulling it off. As HRCP's Tunnel Approach Structure Manager, Alvaro served as the operation's project manager, and it is evident by the success of the event and the morale of his team that he's not your average man in charge. Of course, he has the expertise to bring big ideas to life, but his people skills, creativity, and knack for communication are what make him exceptional at what he does.  
Alvaro is responsible for managing teams, overseeing resource allocation, and coordinating the construction of permanent and temporary structures for the Tunnel Boring Machine's launch and reception on the North and South Islands. In other words, he ensures that the personnel, supplies, and plans are in place to develop essential support infrastructure for the tunnel. In addition to the launch and receiving pits, such infrastructure includes the slurry treatment plant, conveyor, and quay. While preparing for Mary's daily operations and future breakthrough at North Island, Alvaro and his team are also busy connecting the new marine trestles to the tunnel. Lastly and most importantly, he is guiding his team in forming the concrete foundation for the future VDOT Tunnel Operations Building, which will support tunnel construction and other on-site activities. Read more...
Get In the Know, and Then Go!
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Social Connecting
The HRBT Expansion Project team is committed to staying connected with the region for the life of the project. Like, join, follow, or tweet about the project on our social media channels.