ICRI 2008 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Transportation Category

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Pile Repair and Protection
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Cape Charles, Virginia

Submitted by Electro Tech CP, LLC


Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Owner
Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District
Cape Charles, Virginia

Project Engineer/
Designer

Jacobs Civil, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

Repair Contractor
Precon Construction, Inc.
Chesapeake, Virginia

Material Suppliers/
Manufacturers

Electro Tech CP, LLC
Tequesta, Florida

Jarden Zinc Products
Greeneville, Tennessee

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT), originally open to traffic in 1964, is one of the most significant transportation structures in North America. Built and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, CBBT is the world’s largest bridge-tunnel complex. The structure includes a combination of bridges and tunnels carrying U.S. Highway 13 across the Chesapeake Bay, linking the Delmarva Peninsula to the southeastern portion of the Virginia mainland near Norfolk.

Corrosion of the reinforcing steel encased within the structure’s support piles had caused the concrete bridge piles to crack and spall. Corrosion occurred when the reinforcing steel experienced exposure to chlorides from the marine environment. The cracks and spalls on the bridge’s piles were patched and repaired, but the reinforcing steel in some of the bridge’s oldest piles continued to corrode. Therefore, the Bridge and Tunnel District hired a concrete repair contractor to correct the problem and prevent further corrosion.

Following inspection of the structure, it was determined that the repair contractor would integrate a variety of repair methods into the overall repair strategy. Pile conditions were rated on a severity scale and categorized according to the types of repairs needed. One of the innovative repair methods involved cathodic protection (CP) technology. Piles that were moderately damaged but still structurally sound were to be fitted with CP jackets and bulk anodes to provide galvanic protection over the entire length of the affected area. This system fulfilled the project’s requirements for a long-term, proven protection system that could operate maintenance-free.

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