Monday, May 12, 2008

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel: A Destination in Itself

Recently I took a drive up the Eastern Shore and visited Georgetown, DE and Ocean City, MD. It was my first time to the area, and the I enjoyed the drive as much as the destinations.

One highlight of the trip was crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT). The cost is $12.00 each way, but well worth it. The Bridge Tunnel is amazing. It connects the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore and streamlines any trip North of Wilmington, DE by cutting 95 miles off the trip.

The bridge was selected as "One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" when it opened in 1964. To meet traffic demands, a parallel bridge was started in 1995 and once again drew attention to the remarkable construction and engineering.

The bridge is so long that it seemed to disappear in the distance. Hundreds of seagulls stop for a break from the wide open waters and rest on the rails and street lights.

The CBBT is 20 miles long and includes 2 one mile long tunnels. It also carries US 13, the main north-south highway on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

My buddy Jan will be happy to know that the CBBT offers a driving assistance program where the police arrange for an employee to assist and drive a customer's vehicle across the bridge-tunnel when they have a phobia that prevents them from doing so themselves. The management offers the driver as a complimentary community service and states that it prevents unsafe driving conditions that could occur due to any phobia presenting itself. The Police Department arranges the escort and can be reached at 757-331-2960. There are occasionally wait times.

If you're a bird watcher, you can observe birds and waterfowl resting on one of the four man-made islands. The concrete, steel, asphalt and rocks make a perfect resting spot for birds migrating in the spring and fall.

There's also a great fishing pier that gives you the opportunity to leave the boat and home, and still enjoy a deep sea fishing experience. Sea Gull Pier is open year round and is wheel chair accessible. No fishing license is required, and there is no fee except to $12.00 per vehicle to access the bridge itself.

I stopped in the restaurant/gift shop and strolled around. They have complete menu for breakfast lunch and dinner, along with plenty of mementos of your trip across the bridge-tunnel.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was definitely impressive and one of the highlights of my trip to the Eastern Shore.