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Source : Wikimedia Commons
November 30, 2021
Author : Patty Rodriguez
The loan will partially finance the construction of the 5,700-foot Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) crossing.
The Parallel Thimble SHoal Tunnel will connect two southbound trestles of the CBBT, a 17.6-mile structure that includes 12 miles of low-level trestle in both directions, two one-mile tunnels that run underneath the shipping channel, two bridges, and about two miles of causeway, four man made islands and more than five miles of approach roads.
The massive CBBT infrastructure connects Norfolk/Virginia Beach to Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
In the USDOT press release, Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian said ““The Bureau is pleased to support the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel project by refinancing the original loan to take advantage of lower interest rates.”
Farajian formerly spent a year as Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation in Virginia, and before that, as the Director of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships in the state.
“Today’s announcement will help the community save millions of dollars, address the economic harm caused by the pandemic, and keep important public works projects moving forward,” he added.
The lower interest rates in the new loan, which replaces the existing one, will save the state some $57 million, which lowers the state’s dependency on toll revenues which have gone down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will in-turn allow the state to continue with routine rehabilitation projects that were “postponed in response to the downturn in revenues.”
The project is an important one for numerous reasons. For one, it provides a route for the US Navy to access its bases in Norfolk and at the Naval Air Station Oceana. CBBT also carries US 13, the main north-south highway on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and is the only direct link between the Eastern Shore and south Hampton Roads.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.