The addition of a second tunnel for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel’s Thimble Shoals Channel is one step closer to being completed.

According to the CBBT’s CEO Jeff Holland, the tunnel boring machine that will bore and simultaneously build the new tunnel has been fully completed and tested in Germany by the manufacturing company Herrenknecht. It is currently being compartmentalized in preparation for moving it 35 miles to the Rhine River. Once there, the TBM will be shipped down the Rhine and eventually to the Netherlands where it will be prepared for its trans-Atlantic trip to the Eastern Shore.

The massive TBM is 42 feet in diameter and over 325 feet long and will excavate the one mile long, $756 million tunnel. The new bored tunnel will run parallel to the CBBT’s existing tunnel that carries more than 4 million vehicles each year under the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The new tunnel will carry two lanes of southbound traffic while the existing tunnel will carry two lanes of northbound traffic. Upon completion, it will become the first transportation tunnel constructed by a TBM in the Hampton Roads area.

After a contest was held, the TBM was named ‘Chessie’. The winning entry was submitted by Grace Bentley of Nandua Middle School.

You can get more information about Chessie here.

You can get more information about the Thimble Shoals Tunnel Project here.