Luefras Robinson (757) 925-1516
Harry Kenyon (757) 925-1660

Oct. 31, 2007

Bridge Tunnel has been a vital link between the Southside and Peninsula

HAMPTON – Long gone are the days Gaynell Drummond’s family and others on the Peninsula would rely on a ferry to make trips from Hampton to Norfolk.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) will mark 50 years of meeting a critical transportation need in the region.

“We would all get dressed up on Sunday to take the ferry to Norfolk,” said Drummond, a resident of Hampton and a special collections librarian at the Hampton Public Library. But once the HRBT was built, “We were always excited to go through the tunnel.” Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

The original westbound two-lane toll structure replaced the ferry system at a cost of $44 million on Nov. 1, 1957, and the second $95 million segment of the HRBT followed in 1976.

Tolls were removed from the first structure at that time.

The 3.5-mile HRBT, the largest trench type tunnel built at that time, was originally constructed to handle average daily traffic counts of 70,000, but today the facility serves in excess of 100,000 vehicles daily.

It’s the most utilized bridge-tunnel in Virginia. Serving as a crossing for Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 60, the four-lane facility consists of bridges, trestles, man-made islands and tunnels under the main shipping channels for the Hampton Roads harbor in the southeastern portion of the state.

The HRBT, considered part of the Hampton Roads Beltway, connects the historic Phoebus area of Hampton near Fort Monroe on the Peninsula with Willoughby Spit in Norfolk on the southside.

As a result of the HRBT’s opening, both Hampton and Norfolk realized numerous advantages including economic growth, commerce and quality of life for residents, vacationers and travelers. In turn, the HRBT has become a regional landmark.

As part of the 50-year recognition, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has partnered with the city of Hampton to feature an exhibit at the Central Library located on 4207 Victoria Ave.

The exhibit will consist of memorabilia and photos dating back to the bridge’s origin and its early history. The exhibit will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

For more information about VDOT’s bridges and tunnels, visit


Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 15, 2012