State Route 168 - Chesapeake Expressway

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Virginia Route 168 is a part of a multi state highway leading south to U.S. 158 near Barco, North Carolina. SR 168, NC 168 and U.S. 158 join the Hampton Roads region with Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and U.S. 64 west to Manteo at the North Carolina Outer Banks.

The Great Bridge Bypass doubles as the T. Ray Hassell III Memorial Highway. The freeway opened north from Battlefield Boulevard near Hanbury Road to a half built cloverleaf interchange with Battlefield Boulevard at Oak Grove in 1981.

Opened in 2000, the Oak Grove Connector extended the freeway along SR 168 north from the Great Bridge Bypass to I-64/464 beyond Dominion Boulevard (U.S. 17 / former SR 104). Continuing 6.4 miles south from the Great Bridge Bypass, the tolled Chesapeake Expressway opened on May 23, 2001.1

The Chesapeake Expressway cost $116 million overall to construction over a two year period. A portion was built by the City of Chesapeake with assistance from state and federal funds. Tolls cover the costs of a $21 million bond issue that financed the project.2

Plans for the Chesapeake Expressway originated 30 years prior. Obtaining funding for the road was difficult for officials in the 1970s, and when federal, state and city money was finally in place, environmental regulations slowed the permitting process. The City of Chesapeake eventually planned to build the road under a public-private partnership in 1998. However with local contractors threatening to file lawsuits against the city since the project was not opened up for competitive bid, that plan was cancelled.1

Work commenced on the limited access highway in Summer 1999. Hampered by heavy rain from both Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd, further problems arose when Driggs Corp., the contractor building the northern section, filed for bankruptcy in January 2001. Contractors working on two other sections completed work in April 2001, and with the help of dry weather, Driggs finished most construction in May 2001.1

  1. "Toll Road to N.C. Ready for Traffic After More than 30 Years and the Chesapeake Expressway, which Officials Hope Will Alleviate Traffic to and from the Outer Banks, Opens on Wednesday." Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA), May 22, 2001.
  2. "Chesapeake Expressway Set to Open - Road to Cut Travel Time to Outer Banks." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), May 20, 2001.

    Connect with:
    Interstate 64
    Interstate 464
    U.S. 17
    U.S. 60

    Page Updated 04-15-2021.

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