Tunnel Boring Machine Finishes First Tunnel in Virginia

April 18, 2024
Tunnel marks the third of its kind in the country.

A tunnel boring machine dubbed "Proud Mary," in honor Mary Winston Jackson, has finished the first of two tunnels at the site of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project in Hampton, Virginia, after being deployed in 2022. 

According to a report from WAVY, Mary began the boring process from the South Island in April of 2023 after crews worked 9,000 hours to excavate the tunnel. This is the first bored tunnel in Virginia, and the third overall for the entire country, according to the report.

Since Mary was put into the ground, it has dug through 7,900 feet, installing nearly 1,200 rings for the new tunnel, according to the report. At its deepest point, Mary is about 173 feet below the water’s surface.

In the coming weeks, VDOT will turn Mary around to begin its journey back to Norfolk, digging the second tunnel for the HRBT Expansion Project. The process is expected to last five months.

A video posted by WAVY shows the tunneling machine breaking through. 

About the Author

Harlee Hewitt

Harlee is associate editor for Construction Equipment. She has a Bachelor's in English with a focus on technical writing.