The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and its Unique Driving Dangers
Opened in 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has seen more than a hundred million vehicles pass between its shores since then. The roadway connects Hampton Roads to the Virginia Eastern Shore, spanning more than 20 miles in length.
But like any other highway, the Bay Bridge-Tunnel has seen its fair share of accidents.
Bridges and tunnels create new risks and challenges for drivers, made worse by the sheer length of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Narrow lanes and sharp visibility changes because of fog and lighting when entering and exiting the tunnel can cause trouble for unsuspecting motorists.
In 2005, a tractor-trailer drove off the bridge, killing its driver after impacting and sinking into the bay. A similar accident occurred in 2006 with an SUV.
Crashes and near-misses often occur because of the narrow lanes, such as when a tractor-trailer driver clipped the side of a maintenance vehicle.
Torrential rains and high winds also present danger to drivers, and the Bridge-Tunnel is sometimes closed to certain types of vehicles to present an unnecessary risk. Also, ships have struck the bridge's supports multiple times in the past, requiring the highway to be closed for inspection.
Safe driving practices are always your best defense against roadway hazards, no matter if you're driving down the block or across the bay. But if you have a fear of heights, don't worry—bridge employees are available to help drive your car across to the other side.