US DOT offers $338.5m loan to Expand Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
US Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Build America Bureau will be providing a loan of $338.5m to finance the construction of a new tunnel at Thimble Shoal Channel on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
The loan will be provided to the project under Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). The Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel project features construction of 5,700 foot bored tunnel connecting two southbound trestles of the existing Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT), a 17.6-mile structure connecting the Hampton Roads area to Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “The Build America Bureau is all about helping communities find ways to get infrastructure projects funded and built.
“The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a vital link for thousands of Virginian and US coastal residents, and this loan will make it safer for travelers while reducing congestion and boosting the regional economy.”
Apart from the TIFIA loan, the project will also receive finances through senior bonds, as well as a loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and funds invested from the District’s General Fund.
The Transport agency has said that the existing CBBT’s bridge and tunnels will remain operational throughout the construction period.
Virginia Governor McAuliffe said: “The new tunnel will expand capacity and improve safety for travelers who use the CBBT, as well as protect the economic competitiveness and livability of the region.
“The CBBT is the only direct link between Hampton Roads and Virginia’s Eastern Shore, making this facility a vital and convenient connection, supporting commerce in the region.
"Tunnel expansion is good for mobility, jobs and tourism in the greater Hampton Roads region.”
The project construction work is expected to begin in October next year, and is expected to take nearly five years, and is anticipated to be complete by 2022.