The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is the largest bridge tunnel complex in the world. The Bridge-Tunnel was opened on 15 April 1964 and was selected as one of the ‘Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World’ and in 1965 received the ‘Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement’ award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Measuring 17.6 miles from shore to shore the Bridge-Tunnel consists of more than 12 miles of trestled roadway, two mile long tunnels, two bridges, four man made islands, almost two miles of causeway and 5 ½ miles of approach roads, totaling 23 miles.
The two underwater tunnels, each about a mile long, protect two of the world’s most important shipping channels. From the Atlantic Ocean, the Thimble Shoal Channel leads into Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Channel leads to the upper Chesapeake Bay.
The man made islands were made from thousands of car-sized boulders known as riprap, dropped to create the outer rims of the islands. They were then filled with nearly two million tons of sand and rock. Each island is about the size of Yankee Stadium.
The highest points of the crossings are the North Channel Bridges. They provide water clearance of 75ft to accommodate local fishing fleets