When the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) opened in 1964 is was selected as one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world. As recently as 2000, it was recognized as one of the seven structural engineering wonders of America for the 20th Century by Structural Engineer magazine. In addition to this engineering feat and the beauty of the surrounding Chesapeake Bay, the administration, maintenance and financing by the CBBT Commission is of significant interest to area public administrators.
On November 10th members of our chapter met with Jeff Holland, the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District to discuss the history administration and future plans of the CBBT. Some of the recent construction involved a partnership with the Eastern Shore Tourism Commission that resulted in a beautiful Welcome Center at the North entrance. Some of the renovation on Island One includes the Virginia Originals Store and the Chesapeake Grill and upgrades to the Sea Gull Fishing Pier. It was interesting to note that the original CBBT and the parallel crossing, completed in 1999, were financed without local, state or federal tax monies.
Following the meeting, the group toured the tunnel’s surveillance, electrical, lighting, ventilation, and pumping systems as well as a looking into, under and above the tunnel. At the conclusion of the physical tour, the group met for dinner at the Chesapeake Grill. A few of our more observant members noted that the Virginia Originals store featured a selection of wines from every Virginia vineyard.
It was a great experience and opportunity to learn more about public administration in Hampton Roads. Thank you to Jeff Holland, Deborah Cooley, and the staff of the CBBT for hosting the chapter and to Janet Read, our treasurer, for organizing the event.