Boring machine 'Chessie' resumes drilling at Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel site after anchor incident

(UI) — Construction has resumed in full swing at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel following a significant setback caused by an unexpected encounter with an old ship anchor, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Chessie (Image source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel)

After months of investigation and repairs, the tunnel boring machine, affectionately known as Chessie, is back on track, marking a pivotal moment in the expansion project aimed at facilitating smoother traffic flow between Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore.

The incident occurred when Chessie struck a buried anchor, halting tunneling operations for nearly ten months as crews worked diligently to address the obstruction and repair damaged equipment. Despite the delay and additional costs incurred, progress is now well underway, with Chessie tunneling approximately 50 feet per day, totaling 1,600 feet so far out of the planned 6,400 feet.

The unexpected encounter not only extended the project timeline, pushing completion to August 2027, but also added $60 million to the $756 million project cost. However, with most of the extra expenses expected to be covered by insurance, funding from toll revenue remains the primary source for the ambitious expansion endeavor, which initially began in 2017 with an original completion target of 2022.

Chessie (Image source: Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel)

The expansion project involves the addition of a parallel tube to the Thimble Shoal Channel, with the new tube designated for southbound traffic, while the original tube accommodates northbound traffic. While challenges like these are part of large-scale construction projects, the resilience and ingenuity of the project team have allowed them to overcome obstacles and progress toward their goal of enhancing transportation infrastructure for the region.

This story was originally published by The Virginian-Pilot.

Related News

From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}