May/June 2022 Edition
A Message From the Project Director
After extensive efforts to prepare the HRBT South Island for Mary, the tunnel boring machine (TBM), I am pleased to report she is now being reassembled here on site. Welding teams recently completed putting the 46-foot-diameter tail skin together and will soon start welding the cutterhead. In total, more than 170 containers of TBM components will be brought to the South Island by barge, or delivered by truck, for reassembly on the island surface or directly in the launch pit.

Work on the North Island ground improvements is ongoing as crews prepare to begin excavation activities of the receiving pit. Bridge work continues as crews build the foundation of the new North Trestles.
Pieces of “Mary” the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at the South Island.
(#1) shield segment; (#2) stone crusher (left) and screw conveyor (right); (#3) main drive/bearing; and (#4) TBM tail skin.
Some recent progress – such as new piers at Mallory Street Bridge, foundations for the North and South marine trestle bridges, roadway widening at Willoughby Bay Bridge, pile driving for numerous bridges in Norfolk, and sound wall relocation – is highly visible to motorists. Other construction activities continue largely out of sight, such as bridge rehabilitation, utility work, ground improvement, and shaft excavation. All of this work is equally essential to the project, reflecting the commitment and efforts of hundreds of team members. 

Locals know, it's that time of year when visitors travel to our region seeking sun, sand and relaxation. This puts additional pressure on our already congested roadways that are stretched to capacity with normal travel demands. I stress the importance of drivers remaining alert and attentive to all construction activities and shifting traffic patterns. Please drive safely and patiently within our work zones as we work to deliver a better drive along I-64. 


Jim Utterback
Project Director
South MOT Trestle Construction Advances
The Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) Marine Construction crews are busy working through active wind and wave conditions to construct the new eastbound South MOT (maintenance of traffic) Trestle (shown below).
This heavy-duty yet temporary structure is being built between the existing westbound and eastbound South Trestles. It will temporarily carry I-64 eastbound traffic. Vehicles emerging from the existing tunnel on the HRBT South Island heading to Norfolk- so this traffic can be shifted off the existing South Trestle. This will allow construction crews to access the site to (1) demolish the existing structure and (2) construct a new trestle that will connect the South Island to Norfolk.
The South MOT Trestle also supports a moving platform, or “jump grillage” system, as a working platform for the crane (in the center of the photo) to drive piles and set concrete caps. As each group of pilings, or “bent,” is constructed, the grillage system is shifted ahead to allow the crane and crew to advance.
In addition, the Marine Construction crew has recently started using a jack-up barge (shown at left in the photo) for materials and auxiliary equipment. This specialty barge can be elevated above the waterline on its four supports, or “spuds,” to reduce weather impacts to construction activities caused by rough sea conditions. 
Project Progress Photos
Lights, Camera, Expansion!
Interested in the daily activity at the HRBT Expansion Project? Wondering about the widening? Excited about the expansion? Now available on the HRBT Expansion website, citizens can view images from the project cameras located throughout the project corridor.
Mallory Street Bridge - Hampton
Willoughby Bay Bridge - Norfolk
North Trestle/Bridge
South Trestle/Bridge
Progress Photos
Here you see the hydromill trench cutter, or “hydromill” for short. 
It excavates deep rectangular holes for the slurry walls that form the launch pit
(South Island) and receiving pit (North Island). Each of these rigs has a name,
this one in particular is referred to as the “Queen” 
It takes nine of these precast concrete segments to make one tunnel ring. Each segment measures 15 feet long, 6 feet 8 inches wide, 18 inches thick, and weighs 12 tons. 
Two concrete rings at the Technopref precast plant at Cape Charles. Mary the TBM will place 2,388 of these rings to form the new tunnels. 
North Island at the HRBT
South Island at the HRBT
Summer Construction: Tips and Resources
The influx of summer tourists, combined with locals commuting around the region, and perhaps some added gawking at the HRBT Expansion Project construction, could result in longer travel times through the project corridor.
Motorists are encouraged to drive safely, and drive informed when utilizing the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel as their waterway crossing. Drivers using the HRBT can expect additional traffic shifts, detours, and lane closures as crews perform construction activities during the summer months. Areas impacted by construction include, but are not limited to, work to widen the Willoughby Bay, Mason Creek and Oastes bridges; pile driving throughout the project corridor; and access points on the North and South Islands as crews deliver equipment and haul material in preparation for tunneling to begin.  
The HRBT Expansion Project offers several services for motorists traveling through the project corridor: 
Traffic Updates
Check out 511 online, download the app for your phone, or call before leaving home.  The HRBT Expansion Project team also coordinates with WAZE and Apple Maps to provide motorists with real-time updates about roadways inside the project limits.
HRBT Expansion Project Weekly Lane Closure Report
Visit the project webpage to view any lane closures scheduled during the week.  Signup to receive the Weekly Lane Closure report directly in your email inbox.
HRBT Expansion Project Tow Service
Tow services provided by the design-builder, Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), are strategically located to clear traffic incidents or disabled vehicles along the project corridor.  
HRBT Expansion Webpage
Stay informed about the HRBT Expansion Project by visiting

The HRBT Expansion Project team coordinates with WAZE and Apple Maps to provide updates about roadways inside the project limits for motorists traveling in real time.
HRBT Expansion Project Social Media Channels
Stay informed on  Facebook
Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and VDOT’s 511
Connecting with the Community
Throughout the spring, HRBT team members traveled the region sharing updates with the community about project progress as well as upcoming traffic and construction impacts. The arrival of ‘Mary,’ the Tunnel Boring Machine, the construction of the temporary trestle/bridges, and the expansion of the North Island were topics considered “fan favorites” of the community. 

(pictured right: Project Director, Jim Utterback presenting to the Crown Colony Club in Williamsburg)
Some of the groups and organizations included on the community conversations were:
  • Greater Williamsburg African American Business Owners
  • Media Day at the Technopref precast concrete plant in Cape Charles
  • Buckroe Beach Farmers Market
  • Summer Construction Update to Hampton Roads’ travel and tourism organizations
  • Crown Colony Club
  • Harvest Market at Oozlefinch

The HRBT Expansion Project team remains committed to connecting and communicating to the public. If you would like a team member to present to your business, group or organization, email us at or call 757.858.6776.
Employee Spotlight
Let's Meet Matt. A Local for Life
Matt Liffick, Resident Engineer, VDOT/HRBT Expansion Project
Matt Liffick, VDOT Resident Engineer for landside bridges and roadways, officially joined the HRBT Expansion project in March 2022. However, he is no stranger to Hampton Roads and has been in construction since obtaining his engineering degree from Virginia Military Institute. Originally, he worked for a general contractor completing vertical construction projects, spending three years working on apartment complexes and multi-use facilities. What he liked most about those years was the experience with numerous different trades. However, he knew he had a strong interest in bridges, so he shifted his career path to focus on heavy civil construction.
Born and raised in Hampton Roads, he's left the region only for temporary relocations specific to bridge construction opportunities that enhanced his knowledge and skill set. Moving back to the area in Winter 2022 offered him the opportunity to once again be with his family and take on the role of an HRBT Resident Engineer. Day-to-day Liffick works in the field overseeing the expansion, rehabilitation and construction of its many roadway or bridge structures along the project's route. He monitors construction progress to ensure these structures meet VDOT’s rigorous standards. Read more about Matt...
HRBT Tunnel Talk: A "Boring" Podcast
Casting a New Tunnel: In this episode, meet Brooke Grow, the new host of this boring podcast, get an update from VDOT Project Director Jim Utterback, and learn from HRCP’s Aurélien Gil how the new tunnel is currently being constructed .

Check out this episode:
Get In the Know, and Then Go!
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
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