WELL Building: The next step in green sports construction

The WELL Building Standard is a new protocol that focuses on human wellness within the built environment. Administered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), it identifies specific conditions that when holistically integrated into building architecture and design, enhance the health and well-being of the occupants.  This first of its kind, protocol was developed by Delos in partnership with scientists, architects and thought leaders, and prescribes a series of technology enhancements and performance-based measures that are systemized across seven categories relevant to occupant health in the built environment – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.


WELL Building has been designed to complement green building standards and sit on top of existing platforms. Currently in pilot, the IWBI has partnered with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), to ensure that WELL Certification compliments and works seamlessly with LEED Certification. For example, air quality and lighting intersect both green and wellness, about 10 to 20 percent of WELL and LEED standards overlap as a result of this natural connection.

While we believe the WELL Building Standard should be considered for every building, we see a unique opportunity for them to be integrated into sports and recreation facilities, inspiring an operator to think holistically about how their facility interacts not only with the natural environment, but also with the athletes, sports fans and staff who will call their building home. In sports terms: it’s a win-win.

For owners the WELL Building Standard offers a twofold opportunity to deliver a competitive venue for their athletes — a facility that is optimized for their performance while also offering event attendees a healthier environment and a connection to well-being and athleticism.

For example, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas implemented the Stay Well program for hospitality, an overlay program informed by the same evidence-based research as the WELL Building Standard. The MGM Grand saw such a strong return on their initial investment in implementing Stay Well rooms on their fourteenth floor- including high occupancy rates and a 25 percent increase in profitability – that they have quadrupled the number of Stay Well rooms and plan to expand to additional spaces.

Sports play an important role in American culture. We celebrate athleticism as a testament to the power of the human body. Stadiums, arenas and recreation centers are important gathering points for our communities, places where we come together to celebrate physical achievement. As such, these venues represent more than just spaces for sport. The buildings themselves speak loudly about who we are and what we believe in.


At NRG Stadium in Houston, mechanical and electrical systems are managed via smartphone, increasing energy efficiency.

As an industry, we’ve taken major strides implementing green building techniques in sports and entertainment construction. At first, the industry focused on greening the building enclosure, by reducing energy consumption and implementing resource management. Then, sustainability spread to mechanical, and electrical building  systems that use Computer Maintenance Management  Systems to increase efficiency, improve occupant comfort, and can be managed remotely via smart phone technology similar to NRG Stadium in Houston. Another great example of this approach to green building can be seen at the LEED Gold certified Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center, where students help power the rec center’s electrical system, through a voltage converter attached to exercise machines  that delivers electricity back to the building.


Portland State University Academic & Student Recreation Center earned LEED Gold certification through the use of natural lighting and ventilation in key areas as well as quality materials, proven systems, and other cutting edge environmental construction techniques.

Today, sports facilities are increasingly working to green the daily operations of their venues: from implementing more efficient waste management processes – like Gillette Stadium’s waste water treatment plant, to recycling and food service composting and using earth-friendly cleaning products. At MetLife Stadium, all waste kitchen oil is converted to biodiesel fuel; all kitchen scraps are composted, and all cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum and paper is recycled. The push to green sports facilities has extended to event operations themselves – this year’s Super Bowl at MetLife was the greenest on record, diverting more waste, conserving more water and saving more energy than any previous event.

William S Moorhead Federal Building

MetLife Stadium, home to 2014’s Super Bowl, is one of the greenest sports venues in the U.S.

So, while we continue to push ourselves to find the best ways to build venues that reduce our impact on the earth and its resources, what can we do to make sure these buildings are contributing to the physical well-being of the people within them?

WELL Building is the future of green sports construction – an opportunity for building owners and operators to consider not only the environmental impacts of their facilities but the ways they impact athletes and fans alike.

To learn more about the WELL Building Standard and their impact on occupant health, visit the International Well Building Institute.

This post was written by Tom Tingle, Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports Center of Excellence and Beth Heider, Skanska USA chief sustainability officer.

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Tom Tingle

posted by Tom Tingle

Skanska USA senior vice president and national director, Sports Center of Excellence

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Consider this road for much-needed highway funding

The roads, bridges and transit lines we rely on daily are such an important part of the U.S. economy, both for connecting us together as a country and for the thousands of jobs their construction and maintenance provides. Yet the Highway Trust Fund that pays a large portion of many road and transit projects nationally is on the verge of running out of money. While the Administration and Congress are discussing a short-term patch to this problem, what’s really needed is a long-term solution – and creative yet proven approaches should be a central part of that.


If there’s one issue our divided federal government should be able to come together on, I would think it would be infrastructure. Of course, I’m biased in that view, as Skanska is a major infrastructure developer and builder. But here are three points to consider on this topic:

1)      It’s one thing to read in news reports that as many as 100,000 construction projects could be affected if the Trust Fund goes into the red as expected sometime in August, and with the U.S. government planning to slow highway payments to states before that. One impact of slowing payments will be on the men and women who are part of these projects. They’re working hard – even harder given the summer heat – to move these projects forward to provide important benefits to local communities. Congress owes it to these teams to work just as hard to find a funding solution.

2)      With our economy still recovering, construction workers are finally getting back to work. Some great news is that last month our industry had its best monthly jobless rate in nearly six years. I’d hate for anything to interrupt this progress.

3)      Should a lack of federal funding halt highway work, the public will likely pay for the associated added costs. Suppose a contractor receives a price estimate from a concrete supplier, and that quote is good for 30 days. If the 30 days comes and goes and a project team wasn’t able to sign that agreement because work was stopped and the new price is higher, that’s what our industry calls an impact or delay cost, and the contractor would ask their public client to cover that increase. Impact costs would also include charges for rental equipment that sits idle during a shutdown, and if there are added costs associated with bringing the project labor force back. So it’s definitely most economical to keep projects going once they’re started.

Here’s why the Highway Trust Fund is in such bad financial shape: it’s financed by the gas tax, which is set at 18.4 cents per gallon. That rate has not changed since 1993, and with the increasing fuel efficiency of cars and the rise of hybrids, both have eroded revenue flowing into the fund. Meanwhile, the price of a gallon of gas has increased from $1.097 to $3.692 in that time, and driving remains as popular as ever. Many people agree that a reasonable gas tax increase to stabilize the Fund would be an acceptable solution.

But whatever modest gas tax Congress might approve – and any tax increase at all would be a tough sell in today’s Congress – still likely won’t be enough to provide the additional $79 billion needed annually until 2028 to significantly improve the condition of our nation’s highways. To close the gap, an increasingly popular – and forward thinking – alternative is with public-private partnerships. With P3s, limited public money is leveraged with private investment to fast-track critical projects for which cost or time overruns are prohibited and for which the long-term costs to maintain that infrastructure falls to the private partners, not the taxpayers. These performance-based contracts have proven highly effective and valuable in dozens of countries, including Canada, Chile, France, Germany and the Nordics, and here in the U.S. 33 states have approved P3 approaches for transportation infrastructure. Congress providing administrative, regulatory and credit support to states to encourage use of P3s would unlock billions of dollars of private investment, accelerate or generate critical infrastructure projects across multiple sectors, increase employment and economic development, and deliver long-term, lifecycle efficiencies without burdening taxpayers with the full exposure and costs.

Overall, these next few months are critical for infrastructure. The country needs a meaningful plan for funding the Highway Trust Fund, one that relies upon appropriate fiscal sources that provide a long-term solution. Additionally, the infrastructure bill that allocates such funds will expire on September 30 and needs to be renewed, ideally for six years. With no question that infrastructure is needed for our country to grow and succeed, I urge you to contact your Senator and Representative and let them know that this issue is important to you, and that P3s should be part of the solution.

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Richard Aquino

posted by Richard Aquino

Skanska USA vice president of business development and marketing

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Learning and living the Injury-Free Environment mindset

Learning about and living Skanska’s Injury-Free Environment® culture has impacted my life in a number of ways. Prior to working with Skanska, my view on safety – which was primarily influenced by my previous employer – was to follow all rules and regulations in order to stay out of trouble. However, the moment I attended a four-hour IFE orientation as a Skanska employee, my entire view of safety changed drastically.


Angelica Sepulveda, Skanska USA superintendent

IFE orientation began with a powerful statement from the group leader: “This is not a meeting about policies and procedures and how to follow them,” she said. “This is about how you and I relate to the critical subject of safety.” These words totally transformed the way I looked at safety, making it feel personal, relevant and important to me. IFE orientation gave safety meaning. I went from someone who felt forced to follow safety rules to someone who chose to follow safety rules because I understood the impact my choices could have on my life, the lives of my family members, my coworkers’ lives and the lives of their families. In my new found understanding of safety and adoption of the IFE culture I quickly realized the power that I had as a superintendent.

My education in IFE helped me build the confidence to lead. In 2008, I started with Skanska as an assistant superintendent. Not only was I an assistant superintendent, but in my eyes I was a 23-year-old female assistant superintendent who was lacking in field experience and entering an environment predominantly run by older, more experienced males. I was concerned that my differences and lack of experience would present a serious challenge for me in my new role.

But as I took part in further IFE training, I felt a boost in my self-esteem. I believe this training has played a key role in my success, now as a full superintendent. In adopting the IFE culture I made it a point to get to know the construction trade workers by name, asking them about their families, their hobbies and what they are passionate about. In choosing to develop relationships, I felt comfortable speaking up and I saw that they began doing the same. I learned how to correct negative behaviors and call out safety hazards in a positive way, which helped me earn their respect. Being able to step out of my shell, putting others before my selfish fears, and having the courage to develop personal relationships with my team has made a major impact in my life and my career.

But, while I embraced IFE as a leader on the jobsite, there was an important aspect of IFE that I neglected, which I later learned the hard way.

At Skanska we refer to IFE as, “The journey that takes you home,” but for me it was, “The journey that got me home, but didn’t apply at home.” In December 2010, I was driving to a family gathering and I felt irritated and sleepy. Due to my impatience and desire to be home, I tried to make an ill-advised U-turn. My vehicle was hit on the driver’s side by another car that was going approximately 50 m.p.h., pushing my vehicle back into a parking lot and the other vehicle into two lanes of oncoming traffic. I remember first checking to make sure my wife was okay, and then looking at the car that hit me and realizing it was a Caravan. I immediately thought the Caravan was occupied by a family with children (fortunately it was not, and the single driver was uninjured). The desperation and regret that I felt at that moment, I never want to feel again.

On that day I learned a valuable lesson. I realized that my impatience and lack of responsibility had put our lives and the lives of others in danger. Because of this accident, I learned that IFE cannot stop when you exit the jobsite, it carries into your personal life and becomes part of everything you do.

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posted by Angelica Sepulveda

Skanska USA superintendent

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View integrated project delivery through the lens of this George Washington University Hospital project

More and more, teamwork, trust and collaboration are seen as key to successful project delivery. Yet, few projects seek to maximize the meanings behind those words by making them central to how the project team is structured and functions. One approach that does so – integrated project delivery – binds major stakeholders through a mutual contract such that individual stakeholder success is tied to overall project success, with risk and reward both capped and shared.

While IPD is rare – in part because of the greater up-front effort required – the results are typically powerful, with better cost and schedule performances and a smoother delivery process. To help others learn how IPD might help their projects, we recently checked in with the stakeholder team behind the second true IPD project with which Skanska is involved, an intensive care unit renovation at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Here’s some of what this team recently had to share about this project, when on-site work was just getting underway.


All in: Seven organizations signed the IPD agreement: Universal Health Services (owner); Skanska (construction manager); WJ Architects (architect of record); In.Design (interior designer); Southland Industries (mechanical design-builder); M.C. Dean (electrical design-builder); and Clark’s Lumber and Millwork (millwork trade partner.) With this arrangement, there are no separate contracts between the owner and the architect, construction managers and key trade contractors, and so on – every key firm is part of one contract to align all interests with that of the project.

Project finances in a new light: Owner Universal Health Services is accepting all risk for project cost and the overhead of the signatory partners, said Christian Pikel, UHS regional project manager. However, each partner’s profit is put at risk through a shared pool. Any savings from the target budget will be shared among participants, up to the profit pool cap.

Consensus-based objectives: Early in the project, team members and end users came together to define the project’s “conditions of satisfaction” – common team objectives. They crafted 10 of these statements, which include improving doctor, nurse and staff work flows within the sixth floor ICU; eliminating unanticipated noise from impacting adjacent spaces (the project is directly above an active intensive care unit); building a work environment in which all team participants demonstrate leadership roles and process improvement; and incorporate surge capacity within the project budget. The team has developed a spreadsheet containing all conditions, and at every meeting they go down the list and rate their recent performance for each, said Andy Rhodes, Southland design engineer/project manager.

A3 library: IPD’s team-based nature makes it ideal for incorporating the principles and tools of lean construction, which focuses on eliminating waste and continual improvement. Of this project’s lean aspects, A3s are being used not just a single-page way to identify, analyze and propose solutions for problems, but as a means of sharing that thinking across projects. “We were able to pull an A3 on a bariatric issue from another project,” said Aimee Fogarty, Skanska project manager. “By re-examining that document, we didn’t have to start from scratch.”

Better-informed design: This project’s designers are finding that IPD enables them to get the input they need to produce a more realistic design the first time. “It helps clarify expectations much sooner, instead of the typical process of doing value engineering later on in traditional models,” said Jenna Santamaria, In.Design senior designer. “I really get excited and enjoy when we have some healthy tension going on in the Big Room: we get to start horse trading back and forth and asking ourselves, ‘What can we do to make this work?’”

Trust in the Big Room: IPD requires more up-front participation from all parties, including significant time spent in regular in-person Big Room meetings in which all team participants work together on project issues. Such meetings require a different mindset. For example, everyone has equal status and say in all matters. To keep everyone focused, multitasking and sidebar conversations aren’t allowed. And trust is of paramount importance. “Each expert involved in the project must trust each other’s judgment because the success of the team determines the overall success of the project,” said Jennifer Macks, Skanska vice president. “Also, to make the most of the collaborative communication and problem-solving scenario, everyone must be comfortable with one another and share their expertise.”

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Urban resiliency: Learning from Berlin and Detroit

In my role leading Skanska’s West Cost commercial development operations, I’m always exploring for new ideas about how to best foster sustainable and vibrant urban life.  As a 2013 University of Washington Runstad Fellow, I had the opportunity to visit and explore civic resiliency in Berlin and Detroit, two former urban powerhouses that have seen ruin, and recently, creative and economic resurgence.


Berlin’s Betahaus co-working space promotes the active sharing of ideas. Photo Credit: Lisa Picard.

What I and the other fellows learned from Berlin and Detroit is that the cities of the future will be co-created, meaning that the process of developing spaces and communities will – and must – be a collaborative effort between developers, residents and governments in an ongoing, open and lively conversation about the kinds of places we want to call home. They will need to be diverse to be successful, and contain spaces that encourage passers-by to pause, share ideas and make random connections. Back in Seattle, these lessons are helping my team and I shape the Emerald City’s urbanism, such as through our 400 Fairview project.

For an in-depth look at this topic, check out my article in the latest issue of Arcade magazine.

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Lisa Picard

posted by Lisa Picard

Skanska USA executive vice president

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“Don’t be afraid to follow your passion”: Advice for women from the Skanska Women’s Network


The Skanska Women’s Network kicking off in California

At Skanska, we’re proud of our many female leaders across the U.S. To celebrate the launch of the California chapter of our growing Skanska Women’s Network – with chapters in New York and as of this week the Midwest too – we brought together two panels of Skanska women to share their thoughts on leadership and success. From leading with confidence to maintaining a work-life balance, here is some of their advice:

Tess da Silva, project executive: “Be prepared to highlight your great accomplishments and not your failures. Find your passion and don’t be afraid to follow it.”

Karen Dorsey, project manager: “Go outside your comfort zone. Be brave enough to make a mistake and learn from it. I look for genuine and credible people to follow, and I want people to see myself as that sort of leader too.”

Jeanne Gambill, senior project manager: “When you’re at home you need to be 100 percent present. Use home as your retreat –- it will make you more efficient at work.”

Beth Heider, chief sustainability officer: “Throw out the feeling – shared by a remarkable number of highly accomplished women – that you are a fraud and don’t deserve a leadership position. Cultivate confidence in yourself.”

Julie Hyson, business development director: “Don’t apologize for taking time out for yourself or your family.”

Courtney Lorenz, environmental management director: “It’s important for leaders to say, ‘I don’t know – but I’ll find out.’”

Jennifer McMullen, vice president – environment, health and safety: “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. In fact, make one every day and learn from it.”

Do you have advice for women in construction? Share your comments below or tweet your ideas to us: @SkanskaUSA.


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“You can build anything green”

At the Elizabeth River Tunnels project in Virginia, our SKW Constructors joint venture is inspired to build green by the beautiful river that’s the basis of our project, and how that waterway impacts our lives. Some of my colleagues fish in these waters, others enjoy different water-based activities, and we all enjoy the river views. So it’s important to us on a personal level to find environmentally friendly ways to build our project. And we’re honored that outside groups are starting to recognize our efforts.

You can build anything green, but our industry hasn’t prioritized sustainability on civil projects the way it has with buildings. For more than a decade, the U.S. Green Building Council has been advocating LEED to improve buildings’ environmental performance. Yet it’s only recently that the Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system was introduced to provide a similar type of focus for civil projects. Still, with civil construction, if you dig a little bit, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make a difference environmentally.

Midtown Tunnel, second tunnel construction. Portsmouth side.

Our joint venture’s Elizabeth River Tunnels project in Virginia has prioritized building green.

On this project, among the greener ways of working being utilized by the Skanska, Kiewit and Weeks Marine team is a self-contained, concrete chute wash-out system.  Following a concrete pour, these units allow concrete trucks to wash their chutes in a system that contains all the concrete waste and wash water. The units then filter the wash water, allowing it to be recycled and reused in the chute washing process. This system can save approximately $72,700 for every 100 pours. As another example of how going green often saves money, we’ve found that the environmentally friendly aerosol can puncturing system we’ve employed not only reduces the amount of hazardous waste shipped offsite, but also saves more than $30,000 for every 4,200 cans punctured. And rather than paying high fees to haul lead-contaminated soil offsite to dispose of it as hazardous waste, we’re safely remediating that soil onsite.

Just for fun, our team does team-building activities like planting wildlife gardens, celebrating Earth Day and participating annually in the Clean the Bay Day.

Last month, the SKW team was thrilled to learn that our above-and-beyond environmental approach enabled Elizabeth River Tunnels to become the first construction project approved for the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program. Even more significantly, we were approved at the highest level – Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E-4). The 14-year-old program drives environmental excellence through a partnership approach between the Commonwealth and private organizations. It’s based on ISO 14001 environmental management standards, to which Skanska is certified; ISO 14001 provides us with a roadmap to take all projects to a higher level of environmental conservation

Our team hopes that our legacy from this project only starts with improved transportation. We’re also building the local workforce, supporting local businesses, and we hope to leave the environment in better condition than it was when we got here.  And finally, we want our work at the Elizabeth River Tunnels project to set the standard as the first of many construction projects recognized by this environmental program.

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posted by Carissa Agnese

Skanska USA Environmental Manager

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Increase sustainability to boost profits

With an ongoing emphasis being placed on sustainability, it’s good to know the facts before shying away from potentially higher upfront cost premiums. In Skanska’s current projects, we are using resources that are better for the environment while providing a net cost savings in as few as three years.

Skanska’s Jimmy Mitchell, senior mechanical estimator and LEED expert, was recently featured on the Commercial Real Estate radio show, offering insight on sustainability and how it impacts profits. Here are three tactics you can use to increase sustainability while decreasing costs:


Jimmy Mitchell

A net zero policy can significantly reduce water and energy bills

A net-zero energy building is one where the amount of energy used by the building is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site. For a non-profit organization or college campus, Mitchell says in many cases it makes sense to invest upfront in order to significantly decrease water and energy bills over a significantly longer period of time.  For high-density districts, Mitchell advises exploring the benefits of scaling to an area-wide system for systems like chilled water.

Bertschi School

The Bertschi School Science Classroom Addition

The Skanska-built Bertschi School Science Classroom Addition in Seattle is net-zero water and energy, and it has been certified under the rigorous Living Building Challenge program. Net zero is becoming more popular, especially for institutions that wish to remain in their buildings for several years. Mitchell said net zero is a trend that will continue to gain traction and lower in cost to achieve.

You don’t have to rebuild to make a difference

If net zero or LEED certification is not in your short-term budget, there are still small improvements you can make to significantly reduce your energy consumption. Installing LED lighting is an easy way to cut costs, as LED’s initial costs are becoming much more affordable. And when you factor in a power cost of one-eighth the expense of regular lighting, LEDs often pay for themselves very early in their lifecycles.

For office buildings, plug load outlets can be installed, which shut off plugged-in appliances at night. This automatic tool can help you save on power bills. In the case of more in-depth renovations, such as replacing mechanical air handling units in older buildings, utility bills can be decreased by as much as 50 percent post-renovation.

Tactics like these also remove a variable that can limit green cost savings: occupant behavior. Efficient lighting fixtures and off-hour conservation can save money in ways aligned with existing behaviors.

Paybacks can happen in as little as three years

Most people can see the fruits of their investments with a three- to seven-year payback for many sustainable improvements, and a 20-year payback for geothermal or solar implementation – a relatively short timeframe for a building intended to last 50 to 100 years.


We renovated our flagship office in the Empire State Building to meet LEED Platinum certification.

Skanska USA recently renovated our flagship office on the Empire State Building’s 32nd floor. Raised access flooring is one of the highlights of the space, which allows for better air control by cooling the bottom five- to six feet of the floor. A 4.7 percent premium was spent to go LEED Platinum in the space, but among the results was that electricity use decreased 57 percent. The office saw its investment paid back in less than five years.

By implementing these sustainable improvements, you can feel good about being a part of the green building initiative while enjoying the costs savings that these efforts can provide.

“In the future of performance contracting, if you reduce energy and reduce costs, you make more money,” Mitchell said. “Efficiency drives profits.”



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Virginia’s new Midtown Tunnel begins with a trip down the Chesapeake Bay

The SKW Constructors team – a joint venture of Skanska, Kiewit and Weeks Marine – that’s designing and building the Elizabeth River Tunnels project had a major milestone this week: floating six, 14,000-ton hollow concrete tunnel elements, and then starting the process of towing them from the Baltimore-area graving dock where they were cast to the southeastern Virginia project site where they will double capacity of the Midtown Tunnel. The 350-foot-long elements will make the 220-mile trip down the Chesapeake Bay one at a time, a process taking several weeks.

This $2.1 billion public-private partnership project will improve mobility throughout the Hampton Roads region. Click here to read a news story about this undertaking.

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At about 4 a.m. Monday, water begins to flood the graving dock at the Sparrows Point, Md., casting site.

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Six elements afloat in the graving dock, while team members monitor for potential leaks.

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The 350-foot-long tunnel elements – each with a slightly different shape to fit the roadway’s curvature – seemed much smaller once some 25 feet of water was let into the graving dock. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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Nine tugboats were used in moving the six elements from the Baltimore-area graving dock to a nearby pier to await transit to the Portsmouth, Va., project site. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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The safety talk we held before tugboat operations started Monday night ensured that the team was prepared for and understood the unique hazards presented by this activity. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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The Philadelphia-based tugboat Honor, named for the victims of the September 11 attacks, was the lead vessel bringing the first element to Portsmouth, Va. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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The first element to leave the Maryland graving dock arrives at a temporary mooring site in the Baltimore harbor.

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The final element leaves the graving dock. It’s also the first one to depart directly for Portsmouth, Va.

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The final element was taken directly from the Maryland casting site to the project site in Portsmouth, Va.

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The first element to head for Portsmouth, Va., is maneuvered by four tugboats – with a fifth waiting – in the Baltimore harbor.

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Divers inspected the seal surrounding the graving dock gate. No rest for this team – tomorrow the gate will be back in place, the water will be pumped out and they will begin constructing the next five tunnel elements.

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The empty Maryland graving dock on Tuesday - an unusual sight after more than a year spent producing the 14,000-ton elements. By the following day, the dock was drained and our teams were readying to assemble the final five elements.


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As massive as the tunnel element is, it looks small amid the Chesapeake Bay’s waters. Here, the element nears the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on Friday as it approaches its destination in Portsmouth, Va. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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It has arrived! Four days after it left Sparrows Point, Md., the first element was secured at Portsmouth Marine Terminal in Virginia at about 4:30 p.m. Friday. Only five more elements to move in this batch. (Photo by Jay Westcott)

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Moving Midtown Tunnel

Today’s the big day: our SKW Constructors team has begun the process of moving the first six of 11 concrete tunnel elements from the Baltimore location where they were cast to southeastern Virginia, where they will become part of the expanded Midtown Tunnel, the centerpiece of the $2.1 billion Elizabeth River Tunnels project. These giants – each 350 feet long and 16,000 tons – will be towed 220 miles down the Chesapeake Bay.

Early this morning, the process began by flooding the dry dock at the casting site. Once buoyant, the elements were moved out of the dry dock and temporarily moored in Baltimore harbor for final outfitting ahead of their journey.


Once the elements are ready to go, likely Tuesday morning, tugboats will tow them one at a time down the Chesapeake Bay, a slow-going process that we expect to take four- to seven-days per element, up to about seven weeks in total. Here is a map of that route:


If you’re local to this project, a great vantage point to watch the elements is on Island One and the Sea Gull Fishing Pier of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, built in part by another Skanska consortium. Please share any photos you get of the elements in transit by tweeting them with the tag #MovingMidtown.

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