Tuesday, August 10 – Today we drove to Virginia Beach to see the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.
Opened in 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel was selected as one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. Measuring 17.6 miles long, it has 12 miles of trestled roadway, two mile long tunnels, two bridges, four man-made islands, almost 2 miles of causeway, and 5.5 miles of approach roads, totaling 23 miles. It costs $12 each way to cross! There is a legal U-turn area that you can turn around for your return trip without paying an additional toll. Marsha and I missed the turn and had to pay to return. Luckily, if you have your receipt, you can return within 24 hours for $5....whew!
We stopped at the Visitor’s center which is on Island 1.
Lots of fishermen and women on the pier.
A look at the wall around the pier.
Tall sailing ships, battleships, nuclear subs, aircraft carriers, cruise ships and giant cargo vessels pass by as you cross the bridge. Most of these ships are heading to the Norfolk shipyards or one of the many military bases in the area.
This is looking from the entrance of the first tunnel to where the road comes out...about a mile.
Looking at a side view of the exist from the tunnel and the road.
The Two underwater tunnels,, each about a mile long, protect two of the world's most important shipping channels. The total cost of building the bridge was $450 million. Not a dime of local, state, or federal tax money was used.
Entrance to first tunnel.
We stopped on the Fisherman Island which right before the exit from the Toll Plaza.
This is the bridge on the bridge going over to Cape Charles.
This is the road going back.
After returning to the south end of the bridge, we turned east to Cape Henry, VA to see two light houses. They are located on Fort Story Military Base, which required a thorough search of our car and a checking of our driver licenses. The Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard all have units on Fort Story and call it home. The base is home to the Amphibian Landing Crafts, the 11th Transportation Battalion and also serves as special operations training for the Army, Navy and Marines.
The first Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1789. This was the first government light tower. It is 94.5 feet high. Today, the old Cape Henry Lighthouse silently guards the entry way into the Chesapeake Bay. The Light also symbolizes the first bold steps the nation's new government took to fulfill its obligations to its people. With the construction of the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay became navigable and safe ensuring steady trade and commerce on the Virginia and Maryland coasts. There is a $4 admission fee to climb the tower. We did not opt to do this.
In 1881 the light was lit on a replacement tower. This new octagonal, black and white, cast iron tower stands 163 feet tall. This tower is the tallest of its kind in the country. The new Cape Henry Lighthouse is equipped with electrical and mechanical systems which still guides sea traffic safely into the harbor. This tower is off-limits to all.
Another long day as we headed back to the RV by mid-day to grocery shop and relax the rest of the day. It was a hot one too....100 degrees on the thermometer.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all real soon.