Hampton Roads Third Crossing Bridge-Tunnel Commission
September 22, 2000, Norfolk
The central focus of the meeting was two presentations: the first on the Virginia Port Authority's plans for a new port and its relationship to the Third Crossing Project and the second on a "best case scenario" schedule for construction of the Third Crossing Project itself.
Virginia Port Authority
The rapidly increasing size of ocean-going cargo vessels (from the Panamax Class, only 13 containers wide, through the transitional Post-Panamax Class, to the new Suez Class, 22 containers wide) would quickly require very substantial expansion and modernization of the port of Hampton Roads, if the port is to be able to handle the larger vessels and the increasing volume of cargo. An expansion of Craney Island, coordinated with the Third Crossing Project, would provide (i) space for construction of a new port, (ii) excellent highway and rail access, (iii) a perfect location to base a naval/military raid deployment force, and (iv) enough space to meet the port's expansion needs for about 30 years. Federally required environmental and other studies required by such a project could be completed by February of 2002; actual construction could be staged to match the growth of business and be completed by 2012 at a cost of about $1.62 billion.
Third Crossing Funding
Adequate funding is of critical importance to expeditious completion of the Third Crossing Project. A preliminary draft of the project's environmental impact statement has been delivered to the federal government, and the project could be completed in 22 years, if undertaken in closely timed consecutive states. With additional funding provided, however, it could be constructed in overlapping phases and completed in about 14 years.