Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel crossing within the Thimble Shoal Federal Navigation Channel

Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Feb. 2, 2021
Expiration date: 4/3/2021

The USACE-Norfolk District has prepared a draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment to assess the potential impacts for work described below:

LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The actions being considered for this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) are located over and adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) crossing within the Thimble Shoal Federal Navigation Channel in the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay, in between the shorelines of the City of Virginia Beach and Northampton County, Virginia. 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this project is dredging of the CBBT cover material as a part of the CBBT– Protective Rock Blanket (PRB) element of the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project (NHNIP). The updated proposed work of the Supplemental CBBT – PRB Project consists of the following actions: 

• Construction of a water injection dredging (WID) trench, east of the CBBT - PRB site, via conventional dredging (i.e. clamshell bucket and/or hopper) to a maximum depth of -70 feet (ft) mean lower low water (MLLW), 1,200 ft long and 525 ft wide, removing approximately 250,000 cubic yards;

• Transport and placement of suitable WID trench material at the Dam Neck Ocean Disposal Site (DNODS) located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 3-miles east of the shoreline of the City of Virginia Beach;

• Water injection dredging of the existing CBBT cover material to -61 ft MLLW of an area that is 150 ft wide by 1,200 ft long;

• Dredged material placement of the CBBT cover material through WID methods into the WID trench.


Under the requirements of Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the updated proposed scope of the CBBT – PRB Project constitutes a major Federal action that was not included in the NHNIP 2018 Final General Reevaluation Report and Environmental Assessment (GRR/EA), therefore, a SEA is required. This SEA has been prepared pursuant to NEPA and its implementing regulations. 

The purpose of this SEA is to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts associated with the updated means and methods of WID for the NHNIP – Thimble Shoal Channel, CBBT – PRB Project.  This document identifies and evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with the Proposed Action of the SEA that was not evaluated in the 2018 GRR/EA.

The draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment is being coordinated with the following agencies: 

• City of Norfolk
• City of Virginia Beach 
• Delaware Nation 
• Delaware Tribe
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
• U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
• U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency (USFWS)
• Nansemond Tribe
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
• NOAA - National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
• Pamunkey Indian Tribe
• Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR)
• Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ)
• Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
• Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR)
• Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
• Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)
• Virginia Port Authority (VPA)

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment should be by email (JavierAnn.F.Wright@usace.army.mil) or in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-OT (Wright)), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on April 03, 2021. 

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY:  Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential. 

If you have any questions about this project, contact Javier Wright at JavierAnn.F.Wright@usace.army.mil or call 757-201-7890.