‘Chessie’ the boring machine back at work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

May 6, 2024
CBBT Chessie Project

By Beverly Kidd

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The huge boring tool affectionately known as ‘Chessie is once again digging through the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

“So think about a four-story building as long as a football field, that’s about the size of the machine, said Michael Crist, executive director of the CBBT expansion.

Chessie scoops out sand at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, making way for these 20,000-pound segments that create the tube that makes up the new tunnel.

“When this tunnel is complete, we’ll have two lanes southbound and we’ll take the existing tunnel and convert it to two lanes northbound that’ll separate that traffic and will be much safer for drivers, and they won’t have to worry about the potential for head on traffic,” said Crist.

This is the first project in the state to use an underwater boring tool like Chessie when the project began in February of last year. We’re following through on our story from last year when the boring machine hit a hundreds-year-old anchor.

“Based on the size of the anchor, about 3 and a half to 5 tons, we knew it could cause damage to the cutter head,” said Crist.

So Chessie was sidelined adding 8 months to the project timeline and adding $60 million to the $756 million project. Project managers tell me insurance covered most of the added cost.

Atlantic Animal Hospital

‘Chessie’ the boring tunnel machine back up and running to improve CBBT travel

Chessie was back in business by April 8th. She’s positioned about 1500 feet ahead of the first island.

“Chessie’s been back tunneling again like she was designed to do so we’re real happy with the progress over the last four weeks,” said Crist. “She’s installed almost a thousand feet of tunnel which was more than was installed before the obstruction.”

The new span should be completed by August of 2027.

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