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Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel

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Chesapeake Bay
Bridge - Tunnel

" The Eighth Wonder of The World "

An engineering marvel

40 mile span

created 4 islands

why it was built

unique structure

problems involved in building it

height for shipping lanes

enemies bomb it, clog entrance to Atlantic

high winds, storms


Two sides

Norfolk side

two lanes bridge to a tunnel


Thimble Shoal Channel

Eastern Shore at Cape Charles

two lane bridge

Baltimore - Channel beneath channel is the

Chesapeake Tunnel

17.6 miles from
Chesapeake Beach
near Norfolk ,VA.
Cape Charles, VA.


The Big " D "

cost 1 1/2 million $

pile driver for offshore work


high winds


sinking pile - 100 feet deep into ocean floor for stability


Large Barge

70 feet wide and 150 feet long

1650 tons or 3 1/3 million pounds

crane can lift 150,000 lbs.

shoes 28 feet in diameter

2,500 piles were placed by BIG " D "

9 months to build

crew 12 - 15 men

self propelled - powered


The Two Headed Monster

Cut piles off at correct heights and place caps on them to serve as cross members for carrying actual roadbed

forward end piles were cut, rear end crane set crosspieces

movement by barge, lifting it and then floating to next position

need calm seas

The Slab Setter

Lays slabs sections 75 feet long and 28 feet wide

Lays crosspiecies as it goes, so it can go on to lay next slab


The Islands

large dredging machine

four islands

sand from ocean floor

rock and granite boulders - holds sand in place ( 20 tons each )

12.15 months to complete an island


The Tunnels

Thimble Shoal Tunnel

Chesapeake Tunnel

Tunnel Construction

in Orange, Texas

300 foot sections of steel

towed 2,000 miles to Norfolk, VA.

like a ship at 5 mph, took 2 weeks

one at a time, sometimes two

each section large as a football field

30,000,000 lbs. each

interior as wide and high as a 3 story building

frame work for roadbed installed at wetdock

cement also poured

withstand pressure 100 feet beneath ocean

crane digs trenches


Tunnel construction continued

protection against accidental damage

covered with sand

lowered between two barges

divers lock tunnel together

3 dig operation, 3 link tunnel

37 sections

19 at Thimble Shoal

18 at Chesapeake Tunnel

Finishing Up

Inside Tunnels

roadways laid

walls and ceilings are tiled

5 1/2 million ceramic square tiles used

ducts and fans

ventilation and exhaust


fresh air

light and cleaning up



325 feet long, steel bridge

floated in position between 80 foot high concrete piers

built on shore resting on barges


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