March/April 2023 Edition
A Message from Project Leadership
Significant strides were made this month in moving closer to the start of tunnel boring
operations. Crews continue to work around the clock to complete reassembly of the tunnel
boring machine (TBM) within the South Island launch shaft. Work includes; preparing the thrust
frame, testing the TBM power system and water supply, aligning the trailing gantries and bolting the extensive number of connections for the vast array of pipes and hoses that supply all the necessary materials to/from the machine while boring.
PICTURED: TBM Launch Pit with trailing gantries in place on the South Island of the HRBT (February 2023)
This month has seen significant leadership transition on the project, as we say farewell to Jim Utterback and welcome Ryan Banas to the team as our new project director. Jim’s experience and outstanding leadership were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition and skillfully guiding this immense effort through planning, design and into full construction. We wish him and his family all the best in his next stage of life!

We are excited to get Ryan on board and look forward to seeing the project continue to move forward under his leadership. He comes to us with a wealth of tunnel construction experience, most recently as the Project Manager for the owner's consultant construction management contract for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) Project.

Once boring begins in the next few weeks, we look forward to watching the team's success and being steps closer to making the new crossing a reality.
Lastly, please pay attention and be careful as you transit our construction zone. It is our number one priority to make you arrive at your destination safely, while also protecting our VDOT crews and contractor partners. 

Very Respectfully,
Chris G. Hall, P.E.
Project Progress Photos
85' tall concrete beams for the new South Trestle bridge connecting the South Island to
Willoughby Spit in Norfolk.
Rebar cages being placed at 4th View. These will be encased in concrete and form the columns for widened bridges on eastbound I-64.
As the Slurry Treatment Plant takes shape, the control room at left features its namesake, Katherine Johnson.
At left, a tent at the front section of the tunnel boring machine provides a controlled environment for welding its components together.
Inside the launch shaft, the rear sections (or gantries) of the TBM will soon be connected to the front section shown here.
Crews working out of sight are installing utilities beneath the North marine trestles during overnight operations.
Front view of TBM before cutterhead installation.
A View From the Top
Each month, the project corridor is photographed using aerial and drone photography. Historic in nature these pictures capture the continual changes on the expansion project to document this engineering marvel that will serve generations to come.
North Trestles providing new link from Hampton to the North Island.
Future receiving pit (at bottom center) and new bridges at the North Island.
South Trestle piles, pile caps, and beams that will support the future roadway.
Eastbound Traffic Shift
This past month, the HRBT Expansion Project implemented its first major traffic shift associated with construction of new marine trestles (bridges). As of February 19, eastbound traffic now exits the tunnel and shifts left onto a new, temporary trestle.

This temporary structure will allow crews to demolish the existing bridge and construct a new, permanent trestle that will carry traffic from the South Island to Willoughby Spit.

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.
In preparation for the traffic shift, the HRBT Expansion Project team developed a video simulation of the traffic shift as seen above.

Click here for more information on the traffic shift and temporary bridges.  
Equipped to Build: "The Banana Boat"
HRCP’s unmanned Hydrographic Survey Boat, better known as “the banana boat” due to its bright yellow color, measures the depth, shape, and contour of the seabed using sonar technology. The information gathered by this mini catamaran is transmitted from the boat to computer software and provides project engineers with precise measurements and images that define underwater features.
The vessel is operated by remote control; with Kevin Cahoon, HRCP Survey Manager for Marine Operations, or Javier Cortigo, HRCP Survey Party Chief, at the helm. The boat can also be pre-programmed with specific routes to drive itself if needed. This technology allows survey work to be done more efficiently, in shallower water, and at a fraction of the cost of launching a full-size boat with crew.
Kevin Cahoon, HRCP Survey Manager & Javier Cortigo, HRCP Survey Party Chief
setting up the vessel for launch.
During the North Island expansion, where the island was doubled in size to accommodate the new tunnel approach and bridge structures, the banana boat was deployed almost daily to ensure that expansion activities were being built according to plan. 
Interesting Facts About
the Banana Boat
  • Uses MiFi, a small portable router that acts as a mobile hotspot, to communicate with the hub that stays on shore with the operator
  • Uses GPS to chart the topography of the bay
  • Travels up to a speed of 8 knots (9 mph)
  • Was instrumental in detecting the components of a historic shipwreck on the project in 2021
EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating Women's History Month/Women in Construction
HRBT Expansion Project 2023 Women in Construction Luncheon Attendees
The HRBT Expansion Project honors the role of women on the project and within the industry. As of March 2023, the project’s design-builder has 79 female staff members and 212 female craft members contributing to the team in all aspects of the project: from engineering and design to construction operations, safety management to environmental compliance, and finance to project administration. This figure represents about 32% of the project’s total workforce.
In keeping with the 2023 theme of Women’s History Month, “celebrating women who are telling our story,” below are a few stories about women on the project who are setting the standard and inspiring others to excel.
Queen Crittendon
Civil Rights Manager, VDOT
For more than two decades, Queen Crittendon has “ruled” in her field of expertise. Currently serving as the Civil Rights Manager for the Hampton Roads District, Queen has dedicated her professional life to making sure that Small, Women and Minority (SWaM) owned businesses, as well as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, have an equal opportunity to secure contracts with state agencies.

After graduating from Virginia State University with a degree in Business Information Systems, Queen began working in various state agencies, starting with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, utilizing her degree to help small businesses with technology solutions.

Her knowledge in program development and program implementation increased and she was able to use her talent and skills for her alma mater and later VDOT where she worked in the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, (which today is known as the Civil Rights Division). During her time in VDOT’s EEO office, Queen grew and advanced the department as she identified trainings and resources to help small businesses not only secure, but successfully execute contracts with VDOT. Read more...
Linh Do
Construction Engineer, VDOT Consultant (WSP)
Linh Do loves hands-on work. Originally pursuing a career as an Electrical Engineer, it was an internship that gave her access to several areas in the field of engineering that led her on the path of being a Construction Engineer. 

Born and raised in Vietnam, Linh moved to the United States for college and graduated from the University of California Irvine. After a short stint working in California, Linh moved to Hampton Roads to advance her career and be with her family. 

She joined the HRBT Expansion Project in 2022 and enjoys her role of overseeing aspects of Quality Control, which consists of some administrative duties, but she really enjoys the field inspection work. It’s the highlight of her job. However, her journey from Vietnam to the United States, and eventually to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia did not come without its challenges. Read more...
Many Milestones: Winter 2023 Magazine

From the cutterhead lift, to the installation of the temporary trestles, over the last few months the HRBT Expansion Project has achieved measurable milestones. 

Take a deep dive into the Winter 2023 edition of the HRBT Expansion Project Magazine featuring methods used for sound protection of marine animals, progress on the receiving pit on the North Island and a photo montage spotlight on the 65th anniversary of the HRBT. 

Click here to download your copy.
We've Got Something More For Your Drive
During your commute throughout the region, or if you are just a diehard fan of the project, we have something for your drive. Download or stream a free episode of HRBT Tunnel Talk, ‘A Boring Podcast,’ available for free on the project website, Apple or Spotify. 

You can catch up on intricate details about the design-build project or learn more about project personnel and how they came to be on the project.

This podcast is sure to keep you engaged and informed about the largest transportation project in the history of the Commonwealth. 
Want more? Click here to scroll through all of the previous episodes of HRBT Tunnel Talk.
Lights, Camera, Expansion!
Interested in the daily activity at the HRBT Expansion Project? Wondering about the widening? Excited about the expansion? Check out our project cameras on the HRBT Expansion website. Citizens can view the construction activities happening throughout the project corridor.
Get In the Know, and Then Go!
Sign Up To Receive Updates!
Sign up for the HRBT Expansion Project Alerts to get weekly updates on traffic and construction impacts. Perfect way to “know before you go!”

Social Connecting
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