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Whether you are driving north or south, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel showcases the mighty surge of the Atlantic Ocean, the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, and the soaring grace of an engineering marvel. Both a tourist attraction and a travel convenience, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects Virginia's Eastern Shore with the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach near Norfolk.
For over 49 years, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has captured worldwide attention as a modern engineering wonder and an important East Coast travel convenience. Crossing over and under open waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, the Bridge-Tunnel provides a direct link between Southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Eastern Shore counties in Maryland and Virginia), and cuts 95 miles from the journey between Virginia Beach and points north of Wilmington, Delaware.
Following its opening on April 15, 1964, the Bridge-Tunnel was selected "One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" in a worldwide competition that included more than one hundred major projects. In addition, in 1965, it was distinguished as "The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement" by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
To date, over 115 million commercial and passenger vehicles have crossed the Bridge-Tunnel. In order to meet future traffic demands and provide for a safer crossing, construction of a parallel crossing project began in summer 1995, and opened to four-lane traffic on April 19, 1999. No less challenging than construction of the original span, this project once again drew focus to a remarkable achievement in engineering and construction.
The Chesapeake Bay is home to many different species of birds, waterfowl and other sea creatures. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you travel across the Bridge-Tunnel...you just might see some of our feathered friends!