July 2020 Edition
A Message From the Project Director
Jim Utterback
Just fifteen short months ago, the Commonwealth signed a funding and comprehensive agreement for the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

Since then, Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), VDOT and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) have partnered to successfully carry out a Bird Management Plan to keep thousands of nesting seabirds off the project site at the South Island. Fort Wool appears to be a satisfactory alternative for them.

On the island itself, dozens of contractors and subcontractors are hard at work on various aspects of pre-construction work while HRCP awaits a final permit before it can begin constructing twin tunnels and widening the interstate.

Each month in this newsletter, we will bring you highlights of the project.  More information is also always available on our website, www.hrbtexpansion.org. I hope you will follow along as we deliver this transformational project for Hampton Roads and Virginia.

Jim Utterback, Project Director
Willoughby Spit Site Development
PICTURED ABOVE: Demolition at Willoughby Spit-Photo courtesy of HRCP
In anticipation of a permit to begin full construction, Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) are busy with preconstruction activities at the Willoughby Spit site. The photo above shows crews at work demolishing old, abandoned structures located on the site. Debris is sorted before being hauled offsite for recycling or disposal. Once the demolition task is completed, site grading work will begin, followed by electric and utilities installation, fencing, and field office trailer installation. 

The Willoughby Spit site will be used by HRCP as a project staging area and field office during the construction phase, with a 250-300 vehicle parking lot to accommodate crews working on the islands in support of the new tunnels.

In the video clip below, Josh Gormer, a construction engineer for VDOT, discusses the next work phase with Project Director Jim Utterback.

HRBT Tunnel Talk: Eight Months of Preliminary Work
As the Design-Builder for Virginia's largest construction project awaits full Notice to Proceed, early work is underway on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project. The South Island is humming with activity to prepare the island for the 46-foot Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which will bore twin tunnels parallel to the existing tunnels.
PICTURED ABOVE: Assembly of the hydromill (hydraulic cutter) used to install slurry walls to support the launching pit for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)
PICTURED ABOVE: Placement of forms for guide walls for hydromill operations

In the latest installment of HRBT Tunnel Talk, Paula Miller speaks with Project Director Jim Utterback (VDOT) about the significant effort it takes to obtain such a large permit. And, she learns about eight months of preliminary island work from Xavier Billy (HRCP), the Construction Manager for the Tunnel Approach Structures. To listen, click here. Or, listen on itunes or Apple Podcast. Search: HRBT Tunnel Talk.
PICTURED ABOVE: Xavier Billy (HRCP) talks with Paula Miller (VDOT) about preliminary South Island work for the TBM
First Responders
HRBT South Island - Once construction begins, more than 200 pieces of equipment and more than 300 contractors are expected to be on the HRBT South Island daily. With a project and workforce of this magnitude, safety is paramount. As a regional project, communication and coordination with the local city emergency and fire departments is a priority.

On July 27, 28, and 29, personnel from the City of Norfolk and City of Hampton Fire Departments toured the HRBT South Island.  Fire department personnel received a project update, identified emergency vehicle access points to the island (entry and exit), addressed specific safety concerns and challenges, and became familiar with operations on the island in the event of an emergency.  
PICTURED ABOVE: Norfolk Fire Department personnel attending site visit on the HRBT South Island
PICTURED ABOVE: Norfolk Fire Department Battalion Chiefs with VDOT Incident Management Coordinator,
Phil Fonner
PICTURED ABOVE: HRCP Area 3 Safety Manager, Adolfo Nietch, presenting to Norfolk Fire Department personnel at the HRBT regarding South Island activities
The City of Hampton Fire Department services both the north and south islands as well as the tunnel and bridges. According to Jim Stanek, VDOT Incident Management Coordinator, the City of Norfolk Fire Department provides support to Hampton for HRBT emergencies. If there is a confined space issue (i.e. underground), depending on the equipment and resources needed, it becomes a regional response bringing in the cities of Newport News, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, in addition to Hampton and Norfolk.

This is the first of many planned site visits for the emergency personnel during construction operations. In August, the HRBT Expansion Project team will host three days of training for City of Hampton and City of Norfolk first responders.
While You Were Sleeping
PICTURED ABOVE: Signs installed along the bridge trestle of I-64
Some jobs at the HRBT Expansion project require overnight work to minimize travel impacts to motorists. As an example, for two weeks in mid-to-late July, crews worked from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. installing signs to advise motorists of heavy trucks entering the highway, as well as lane shifts for the creation of a new acceleration lane (eastbound I-64). A deceleration lane will be installed in early August. 
PICTURED ABOVE: Signs installed along the bridge trestle of I-64
Shuttle Service to the South Island
PICTURED ABOVE: Masked crew being shuttled to the South Island
Parking is at a premium on the HRBT South Island as new employees arrive each week to begin work on the tunnel expansion project. To accommodate the growing roster of current and future workers, the Design-Builder, Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), began providing a shuttle service on July 28 from King Street in Hampton to the island. Contractors meet in the parking lot of HRCP's concrete batch plant to catch a shuttle to and from work. And, with COVID-19 still at a critical stage, all employees have a temperature check before boarding the shuttle and working on the island. 

Similar shuttle service will be provided from the Willoughby staging yard as soon as preparatory work at the site is completed.
Nature's Beauty
Crews working on the bridge-tunnel expansion project, as well as motorists, have been enjoying enhanced sunsets thanks to a massive Sahara dust plume that created a spectacular canvas over the region earlier this month.  
Stay Informed