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Oversized load caused 17 hour shutdown of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel


Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) reopened early this morning after being shut down for nearly a day because of an oversized load striking the ceiling.

The crash happened on Monday, October 1, around 11 a.m., according to the Virginian-Pilot.

A truck was hauling a 22,000-pound sheet-pile-driving hammer to to be used on a construction project on another part of the tunnel when the load struck the ceiling. The strike caused significant damage to the CBBT ceiling and caused the pile-driving hammer to fall off of the trailer and become wedged against the jersey wall.

From the CBBT: “The vehicle was being operated by Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture, the company that is constructing the new parallel tunnel at Thimble Shoal Channel.  CTJV was moving a piece of large construction equipment from One Island to Two Island when the accident occurred.”

The incident closed most lanes of traffic on the CBBT for about 17 hours and resulted in miles-long traffic backups. All lanes reopened around 3:30 a.m. today.

No injuries were reported.

Vehicles must be no taller than 13 feet 6 inches to pass through the CBBT. A spokesperson for the CBBT said that the equipment was already on the bridge when it was loaded onto a truck. Because of this, the truck did not pass through a toll lane and the height of the load was not checked.

The truck driver has been cited for “over height bridge and tunnel.”

The company that employed the truck driver, Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture, has set up a toll relief fund for those inconvenienced by the incident. CBBT authorities say that they are legally unable to provide toll relief for drivers who were held up by the incident.


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