While in Virginia I was able to ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel twice – once going over, once coming back. This is an experience worth a special trip.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened on April 15, 1964 and was selected as “One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” in a worldwide competition. In 1965 it was described as an “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. From shore-to-shore the bridge-tunnel measures 17.6 miles and is the world’s larges bridge-tunnel complex. It consists of 12 miles of low-level trestle, two 1-mile tunnels, 2 bridges, almost 2 miles of causeway, 4 man-made islands and 5-1/2 miles of approach roads for a total of 23 miles. The clearance below the bridges varies from 40 feet at the Fisherman’s Inlet to 75 feet over the north channel.
I took the drive, which crosses over the Chesapeake Bay, from the City of Virginia Beach north to Cape Charles, Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula, then a few hours later made the return trip. I shot photographs from a moving vehicle, which show driving across the bridges, going through the two tunnels, and on the way back I was able to capture a ship passing over the tunnel and between the bridges ahead of me.
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Once you cross over onto the Delmarva Peninsula be sure to stop at the Visitors Center for information and directions to the 1942 Bunker of the Winslow Battery from WWII. It is within walking distance from the visitor center, or if you prefer you can drive to the location where handicap parking is available. It is a unique treasure hidden from view and well worth the side trip.
Despite the official name change to Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge Tunnel in 1987, honoring the man who spearheaded the building of the project, to preserve the bridge-tunnel’s identity and name recognition it continues to be known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The bridge-tunnel is one of only ten bridge-tunnel systems in the world, three of them are located in the water in the Hampton Roads area of Tidewater Virginia. I went through the Hampton Bay-Bridge Tunnel on my way to the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel. While it gives you a small taste of what is to come, the overall experience is small in comparison. If you get the opportunity to experience the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, do not pass up the opportunity.