February 2021 Edition
A Message From the Project Director
Jim Utterback
Thank you to the more than 500 people who attended the HRBT Expansion Construction Virtual Open House in January. The level of engagement and participation in the Q&A sessions underscores the interest in the project. 

We appreciate the community’s patience and support as we work to build the new twin tunnels, trestle bridges, and widen I-64 between Settlers Landing Road and the I-564 interchange. 

In honor of African American History Month, I want to recognize innovative thinkers like Garrett Morgan (pictured below), who patented a three-position traffic signal in 1923. Before then, most traffic signals only had two positions: stop and go. Morgan’s invention greatly improved transportation safety by providing drivers an additional caution when approaching an intersection.
As construction ramps up on the HRBT Expansion Project, safety remains our top priority both for our construction team members and the motorists traveling the interstate each day. Please stay alert in the work zones. Together, we can work together to complete this project safely and bring much-needed additional capacity to the region. 

Jim Utterback, Project Director
North, South and in Between
Since the Notice to Proceed was issued on September 11, 2020, the North and South Islands, as well as the surrounding waters, have all experienced a significant increase in construction activity.  
PICTURED ABOVE: HRBT crew members observe a rebar cage being lifted for the slurry walls on the South Island. Rebar cages will reinforce the slurry walls, deep underground concrete walls surrounding the TBM launching pit. 
The South Island’s transformation is mainly in preparation to receive the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). Germany is the current home of the TBM, where it is being manufactured, assembled, tested, disassembled, and shipped. The HRBT project team will receive the TBM in parts, assemble it on the island and prepare it to launch. The TBM will launch from a pit that is 70 feet in depth, to make its year-long journey to the North Island. A launch pit is currently under construction.

The South Island serves as an almost self-contained job site, with a water treatment plant, offices, and all the other support services necessary to support the launching of the TBM. Crews are preparing for the “jet grouting” operations which will improve the subsurface conditions to best facilitate the operation of the TBM. Protection of the environment as construction progresses is also crucial to the success of the project. Both VDOT and HRCP are committed to minimizing impacts to the Harbor, and the associated waterways. Consistent, dedicated monitoring of activities and construction actions help to avoid accidents or impacts.
PICTURED ABOVE: Erosion control measures, such as sedimentation traps like this one on the South Island, are designed and implemented to protect water quality.
Not to be outdone, the North Island has its fair share of “upgrades” and improvements in preparation for the TBM as well as the new bridge structures. The footprint of the North Island will expand, almost doubling the size of the island. The TBM will bore its way across the channel, building the new tunnel in the process. Once it reaches the North Island it will be received in a portal constructed by the project team, disassembled, turned in the direction of the South Island, reassembled, and launched. From North to South Island, the TBM will create the second of the new twin tunnels.
PICTURED ABOVE: Expansion of the North Island continues! A larger footprint of land will be needed to make room for the entrances to the new eastbound tunnels,
The harbor is experiencing increased activity as well. A few miles off the Hampton shoreline, the water is too shallow for the project team to float in the equipment needed to build the new bridge structures; therefore, a temporary work trestle (platform) is being constructed to accommodate the machinery and equipment necessary. 
PICTURED ABOVE: Crews are working on a sheet-pile wall near the North Island expansion. In this area, the receiving pit will be constructed for the TBM to make a U-turn to bore the second of the new twin tunnels.
Construction Open House Recap
A virtual “HRBT Expansion Project Construction Open House” was held on Thursday evening, January 28th, allowing the public to connect by video with members of the HRBT project team to learn more about the current and upcoming activities along the project corridor associated with the start of construction. 
Following a General Session presenting the upcoming construction work – covering the new roadway, bridges and trestles, and islands and tunnel – and highlighting the project’s design concept video, three Breakout Sessions (one for Roadway Construction in Hampton and Norfolk, another for Tunnel Construction, and a third for Marine Construction) were held where the public could connect with Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project managers and engineers to learn more about specific elements of the project and have their questions and comments addressed by a panel of subject matter experts.
This virtual Open House was one of the largest public outreach events in VDOT history, with 522 people connecting to the webinar. 
To view the recorded videos, visit www.hrbtexpansion.org/openhouse
Stakeholders Quarterly Meeting
Members of the HRBT Expansion Project Stakeholders Committee, along with staff listen attentively as Project Director Jim Utterback gives an update on planned construction activity in Norfolk in 2021. The committee met virtually on January 27, 2021. In addition to construction activity in Norfolk, the group received updates on North and South Island preparation work, trestle installation, Mallory Street bridge construction in Hampton, and outreach/community engagement efforts.
The Stakeholder Group is comprised of representatives from Norfolk and Hampton city governments, the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the maritime industry, HRTAC, the Veterans Administration, Hampton University, civic leagues, and other interested parties. 
Employee Spotlight: Sheryl Correia, HRCP
In her role as Senior Human Resources Specialist for Hampton Roads Connector Partners, Sheryl Correia works to oversee the operations of the Human Resources Department. Additionally, she supports the outreach activities of the DBE/SWaM (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business) and minority recruitment initiatives of the construction joint venture and plays an integral role in the company’s COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts. Sheryl is passionate about her work in the “human side” of the project, and she strives to help create and foster a welcoming and all-inclusive company culture.
One of Sheryl’s top priorities is to help management develop a diverse, competent, and effective team of both technical and administrative professionals focused on designing, building, and delivering the HRBT Expansion. She sees her biggest challenge being the recruitment of qualified individuals to fill the various jobs needed to support the team – from project staff (such as engineers, technicians, and managers) to project craft (ranging from carpenters and electricians to equipment operators and laborers). The number of HRCP employees is projected to increase significantly over the coming months as Sheryl and her team continue to recruit, hire, and onboard craft employees.
Sheryl has worked in the marine construction industry for over nine years and has been involved in human resource management in the construction industry for the past five years. Sheryl is a military spouse who enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons when not at work supporting the HRCP team.
There was no hibernation period this winter for the HRBT Expansion Project. Committed to keeping the community informed about project progress and updates, project team members engaged community groups across the region to include the Virginia Maritime Association Inland Trucking Committee; Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club; and the Old Comfort Yacht Club.

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
Serene sunset on the South Island
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.
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