January 2021 Edition
A Message From the Project Director
Jim Utterback

Happy New Year! We are excited about our work in 2021 as we move the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel forward.

The start of the new year also brings new construction activities beginning soon in Hampton and Norfolk. Please consider attending our Virtual Outreach Event on Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM for more information. Details are below.

Construction moves forward to prepare the launch pit for the TBM, expand the islands, build new trestle bridges, and widen the interstate within the project corridor. With all of the work happening simultaneously, we can expect to see a lot of activity in the coming months. As construction activities increase, please stay alert to crews working along the interstate.

We are excited to continue to share monthly project information in upcoming newsletters.

Jim Utterback, Project Director
You Are Invited! Virtual Outreach Event
With the start of the New Year, Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) begins new construction activities. You're invited to learn more during a Virtual Construction Open House to learn about upcoming construction activities on the HRBT Expansion Project.

Virtual Construction Open House
Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM


This event is FREE and open to the public, but you must REGISTER to attend.

Event Agenda:
  • 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM – General Session/Overview presented by HRBT Project Team
  • 6:00 PM to 6:30 PM – Citizens can attend virtual breakout sessions to ask questions specific to project interests to include Norfolk and Hampton roadway construction, marine construction activities and tunnel construction activities
Project Highlights
The start of a new year means a flurry of construction activities for the HRBT Expansion Project. With a target completion in 2025, work will be happening concurrently to build the new twin tunnels, to rebuild or replace bridges and to widen the roadway from Settlers Landing Road in Hampton to the I-564 interchange in Norfolk.
PICTURED ABOVE: South Island at the HRBT under construction
Exciting construction work is happening on the South Island as crews continue to build the launch pit for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), a 46-foot diameter machine which will bore the new twin tunnels under the Hampton Roads Waterway between the South and North Islands.
Pictured above is a rebar cage made of fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) bars to reinforce the concrete for a South Island slurry wall (deep underground wall surrounding the TBM launching pit). FRP is being utilized instead of traditional steel rebar in locations where the TBM will dig through the wall as the tunnel boring begins, since the machine is able to cut through FRP material more readily than steel.
The North Island will see a dramatic change as the island is expanded to accommodate the new twin tunnels. Pictured above is a crane on a barge placing rocks to support the expansion of the North Island.
PICTURED ABOVE: Work trestle for trestle bridge
Crews are busy building a work trestle, which will provide a path for moving cranes and equipment to help build the new bridges from the Hampton shoreline to the North Island.

Look for a more in-depth dive into some of the unique construction materials and equipment being used on the project in future newsletters!
Employee Spotlight: Philip Casteen, VDOT
As the largest construction project in the region, the HRBT Expansion Project brings together team members from a variety of backgrounds and geographic locations. VDOT Engineer Philip Casteen, a Hampton Roads native, offers a hometown perspective and a local appreciation to the project.

As a sophomore at Old Dominion University (ODU) in 2014, Casteen applied for the highly competitive VDOT Scholar Program which offers civil engineering students the opportunity to gain work experience, earn money over the summer, and receive stipends to assist with educational expenses.

He joined VDOT full-time after graduating #1 in his class as the ODU Outstanding University Scholar, then pursued an advanced degree in engineering from ODU while working full-time. With educational funding support from VDOT, he graduated with his Master’s in Civil Engineering in 2019 and earned his Professional Engineer (PE) license six months later.

Currently, Casteen focuses on engineering work for bridges and other structures in the project corridor, including the instrumentation program that monitors how existing structures are affected by construction activities. He also assists with project outreach and presents to ODU engineering students on project progress.

When asked the secret of his success and what advice he would give to up-and-coming engineers, Casteen says, “be focused, be flexible, take pleasure in what you do, and care for the people you work with.” He attributes his relationships with his mentors and supervisors as having a vital impact on his career.
Project Progress
In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, the HRBT Communications Team remained steadfast in outreach efforts for the expansion project. Virtual meeting capabilities are proving to be an efficient method to information and awareness to the community regarding project progress.

The team was able to share updates with the Society of American Military Engineers at the Industry-Government Engagement Workshop on Military and Maritime Engineering Opportunities; and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) December 2020 Technical Meeting.

If you are interested in having an HRBT Expansion Project team member present to your business or organization, please email your request to HRBTinfo@vdot.virginia.gov,
Photo of the Month
South Island: Berminghammer foundation equipment used to drill and drive steel pipe piles in areas with armor stones, the large rocks that protect the island along the water.
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.
Stay Informed