WHERE: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Tunnel (otherwise known as the CBBT) crosses the Chesapeake Bay connecting the Eastern Shore of Virginia with the Hampton/Virginia Beach area.
WHAT: The bridge/tunnel is 23 miles long and alternates between an above water and below water route. The tunnels were built to allow ships passageway to the inner ports (eliminating the need for draw bridges.) Before the bridge/tunnel was built, a ferry transported passengers. Interestingly, there are only 10 bridge/tunnel systems in the world and three of those are right there in the Hampton area of Virginia. (I have been through one of the smaller ones several times with Barb and Betsy – two friends that were on an adventure with me after a conference. Though it was dark, we went in search of the Atlantic Ocean and found ourselves in one of the other tunnel systems.)
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel is the largest bridge/tunnel system in the world and cost 450 million dollars to build (no tax money of any kind was used).
By using the tunnel, you save 90 miles of driving.
(By the way, there is an MP3 driving tour app available, however, we didn’t do that.)
AND: This trip is not for the fainthearted – and by that I mean, anyone who gets claustrophobic and the thought of being in a tunnel below the ocean freaks them out … I have a couple friends who would NOT enjoy this trip whether or not it is considered one of the engineering wonders of the world. But if that doesn’t bother you, the drive across/under the ocean/bay is rather awesome.
The southern end of the bridge-tunnel has a visitor’s center. Here you will see lots of people fishing on the pier. You can also grab a sandwich and watch the people fish or just enjoy the view of the water. (We did not fish or grab a sandwich.)
One of the mottos of the bridge/tunnel is that “it’s the journey, not the destination” and in this case – that’s very true.
KID FACTOR: I think any child old enough to understand that they are actually driving under the ocean would find this fascinating.