On Dec. 9, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a $50 million loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (VTIB) for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s (CBBT) Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project.
The construction of an additional two-lane tunnel under the Thimble Shoal Channel will expand capacity and improve safety for travelers who utilize the CBBT and protect the economic competitiveness and livability of the region through enhanced resiliency as the CBBT serves as the sole connection between the Delmarva Peninsula and the Hampton Roads area.
“The approval of this loan is an important step in financing the construction of this project,” said Jeff Holland, Executive Director of the CBBT. “The CBBT Commission appreciates the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s investment in this transportation network. The funds received via this loan will displace more expensive revenue bond sources, lowering our overall cost of borrowing and saving money for the customers of the CBBT.”
In addition to the VTIB loan, the new tunnel is expected to be funded through a variety of sources including toll revenue bonds, a federal TIFIA loan and the CBBT General Fund. The project is currently being procured under a design-build methodology with final technical and price proposals due on April 29, 2016. Award of the Project is expected in May 2016 with design beginning thereafter.
In August, four design-build teams were shortlisted to move forward in the next phase of this two-step, design-build procurement process and the commission issued the draft RFP for design-build services for the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel project. Short-listed firms include: AWVC TunnelBuilders (Archer Western, Vinci Construction – immersed tube); BTM (Bouygues, Traylor, Manson – immersed tube); Dragados-Schiavone JV (bored); and SKW Tunnel Builders (Skanska, Kiewit, Weeks – immersed tube).
The VTIB is a special, non-reverting, revolving loan fund designed to make low-interest loans and grants to localities, transportation authorities and private-sector partners for transportation projects.