March/April 2022 Edition
A Message From the Project Director
In March, the country celebrates women who have blazed new paths and moved beyond traditional roles. Here at the HRBT Expansion Project, we honor the women who support the largest interstate construction project in the history of Virginia. From the management team to construction crews, women bring new perspectives that improve the process and drive new innovations. We’re privileged to have these talented women as a part of our Project Team every single day.
I am pleased to be able to report the completion of the power infrastructure necessary to support tunnel boring operations.  This effort, upgrading miles of power lines and substations, all within very active urban areas is truly an accomplishment and sets the stage for our contractor to power the boring machine.  While installing power lines and substations may not seem newsworthy, without this added capacity there would be no tunneling on the project.  Dominion Energy has set the stage and demonstrated their support of this critical transportation improvement project.
Spring typically signals the construction season with the increase in daylight hours and warmer weather.   It also means an increase in outdoor activities and vacations, which translates into more people on the roads.  Please remember stay alert when driving through the work zone as traffic patterns may have changed. Drive safely, avoid distractions and observe posted speed limits. 

Jim Utterback, Project Director
Power-packed Partnership
How much electrical power does it take to power a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for one day? About the same amount of electricity it takes to power 6,000 homes for one day, that’s how much.  
It doesn’t happen by accident. Through planning, preparation, and execution led by Dominion Energy, in partnership with the HRBT Expansion Project Team, the utility upgrade work needed to supply power for the TBM was completed ahead of schedule. With critical collaboration and communications from the HRBT Expansion Project Team, Dominion Energy successfully added the needed components to the local electrical “grid.” Efforts included the upgrade of Taussig Substation in Norfolk and upgrading of numerous miles of powerlines. And, that’s not all. Upgrades to countless more substations and power lines are currently in the works to support the roadway and bridge widening included in the project.  
As the TBM is only anticipated to operate for two years, these enhancements to the region’s power grid will live on well beyond the life of the project. This combination of a substation upgrade and improvements to the power lines ensure additional capacity today, and in the future.
This historic transportation project for The Commonwealth of Virginia is well underway.
Construction Update: Preparing the TBM Launch Pit
Work is advancing on the tri-cell launch pit located on the South Island. Excavation in the launch pit will continue as the contractor continuously monitors and adjusts the ground water elevations both inside and outside the launch pit.  Excavating the launch pit on an island in the harbor is no easy task, and our project team is constantly adjusting to the conditions and requirements to ensure a safe operation. 
Pictured below, the complete launch pit structure and with each of the three cells visible.  Once complete, the launch pit will serve as a staging point for the Tunnel Boring Machine “Mary” and then launch her on her journey towards the North Island - creating the first of two new tunnels as she bores under the harbor.
Project Progress Photos
North Island: A view of the expanded North Island with work underway to prepare the TBM receiving pit.
South Island: A view of the South Island with work underway to prepare the TBM launch.
Equipped to Build
The HRBT Expansion Project features some of the most unique construction equipment in the industry. The various project features such as roadways, marine bridges, and tunnels require a wide range of equipment to support operations for excavation, pile driving, concrete casting, and island formation.
Read about some of the equipment needed to support the largest transportation project in the history of Virginia in the latest edition of Construction Equipment Guide. Click here to read.
Women in Construction
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), the leading professional association for women in the construction industry, celebrated the 24th Annual Women in Construction (WIC) Week March 6-12, 2022. WIC Week serves to raise awareness and celebrate the work of women in the construction industry across the country. NAWIC founded WIC Week in 1998 to continue its mission of strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the industry. This year’s WIC theme is ‘Envision Equity.’

The HRBT Expansion Project Team celebrated WIC Week by hosting female team members to an appreciation luncheon event with remarks from Jim Utterback, VDOT Project Director and Juan Miguel Perez, HRCP Project Executive. 

Hats off to these amazing women of the HRBT Expansion Project!
Making "HERstory"
In addition to celebrating Women in Construction, March is also Women’s History Month, where the nation joins together to commemorate and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. As of March 2022, the HRBT Expansion Project reported that more than 13% of the project workforce is made up of women, significantly exceeding the 6.9% project goal. Women have a pivotal presence on this project. There are contributions from women on the project at every level, from management and engineers to equipment operators and craft workers. Women play a significant part in achieving the goal of building a connected future for the citizens of Hampton Roads. 
Considering the historic nature of the HRBT Expansion Project, 13News Now featured Michelle Martin, VDOT Consultant Project Manager (WSP) and Isabel Lillard, Project Engineer (HRCP). Both women are making “herstory” with their contributions to the fields of construction and engineering on this massive, historic, transportation project. View the video below.
Employee Spotlights
Sarah Hoak
Navy/Marine Coordinator, HRCP
What excites you most about working on this historic project:
This is my first project since leaving the Navy and I’m learning new and interesting things each day and still meeting interesting people from all over the world!

Word of advice for women in the industry:
Each one of us brings a unique skill set to the table, it doesn’t matter if your male or female. Just do what you do to the best of your ability!
Evelyn Genuino
Resident Engineer, VDOT
What excites you most about working on this historic project: An adventure of once in a lifetime experience, working under water structure using high end technology and working with diverse and knowledgeable people with years of experience inspire me to work on this historic project.

Word of advice for women in the industry: Pursue your dreams and goals with courage, perseverance, patience and confidence in yourself, you will reach the pinnacle of success in your career. Be brave to face the adversity and challenges of being in the male-dominated industry. Hard work and focus on doing a brilliant job will lead a long way towards the journey of success!
DBE/SWaM Update
HRCP has been exceeding the project goals for DBE and SWaM business participating. The HRBT Expansion Project Team continually works to engage and offer new opportunities to DBE and SWaM firms to help “keep Virginia moving.”
Photo of the Month
Work on the North Island is well under way with the expansion (almost doubled in sized) to the island complete and the pile support structures for the new trestles being installed. Clearly visible in the picture below, the gray circle is the receiving pit where the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will exit after completing the first tunnel, be turned around, and start the yearlong journey back to the South Island. 
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.
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