Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion

Geo-structural support for the largest transportation project in Virginia history.

GeoEngineers designed lift plans for massive steel cages, like this one.

The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel crosses a portion of the Chesapeake Bay to connect Norfolk, Virginia with Newport News. Unfortunately, in recent years it became a choke point for commuters and travelers on I-64 between Virginia Beach and Richmond or Washington D.C. to the north, with more than 100,000 vehicles using the bridge-tunnel daily. In 2020, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) began construction on a massive expansion that adds dual two-lane bored tunnels and widens the four-lane bridge portion of the crossing. In total, this $3.8 billion effort has become the largest transportation project in Virginia’s history.

Construction was already underway when lead contractor Keller North America asked GeoEngineers to provide supplementary designs and geo-structural analysis for handling and placing very large steel structures. The project design called for the lifting and placement of massive steel reinforcement cages, some as long as 175 feet. These critical crane picks simply had to be done correctly; there was no room for error. Keller trusted GeoEngineers’ Construction Design Team to review and update these calculations—and do so within a very short timetable.


  • Design for Temporary Slurry Silos: The team delivered geo-structural recommendations for the large temporary slurry silos required by a construction project of this scale.
  • Crane Lift Plans: GeoEngineers’ team provided specifications for a number of crane lifts, including the large reinforcement cages were in three separate pieces and needed to be lifted into place precisely and joined together. The team carefully analyzed every step of these proposed crane lifts from the ground bearing pressure of the crane pads to the rigging.
  • Meeting Unexpected Challenges: When the largest section of steel cage showed up on site it was heavier than expected. A lot heavier. The team quickly realized they needed two cranes instead of one just to get the cage off the trailer. A second crane meant the team had to recalculate and design a completely different plan—and all while the trailer was waiting at the project site. The team delivered a redesigned crane lift plan in about half a day to avoid costly delays.


GeoEngineers’ Construction Design Team jumped into action to quickly deliver geo-structural analysis and designs and keep the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion moving forward without delay. When complete in 2025, the bridge-tunnel will significantly improve traffic flow and reduce travel times for motorists.

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