The Most Terrifying Bridge in Virginia Will Put a Pit in Your Stomach

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: October 26, 2023
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Crossing bridges can make people uncomfortable for a lot of different reasons. Worn-out structures like the old Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge or those that pass high over water like the Golden Gate Bridge can put a pit in anyone’s stomach. Virginia has one of the scariest bridges in the entire country. Discover the most terrifying bridge in Virginia and find out what makes it scary, where the bridge is located, and much more!

What Is the Most Terrifying Bridge in Virginia?

View of Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland

Crossing the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the scariest bridge in the state.

©Norm Lane/

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is the most terrifying bridge in Virginia. This bridge-tunnel structure is 17.6 miles long, and it crosses the Chesapeake Bay. The bridge connects the area northeast of Norfolk to Cape Charles. More specifically, the bridge connects Delmarva and Hampton Roads in Virginia.

Unlike other bridges that are a single structure built over an obstacle, this structure is both a bridge and a tunnel. Drivers travel several miles out into the Chesapeake Bay on a bridge before it dips down into the tunnel. Roughly four million people travel across this bridge each year. This bridge can be very frightening due to its structure and other reasons.

What Makes the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel So Terrifying?

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The structure has a total of four lanes, two going in each direction on the bridge and two inside the tunnel.

©Wandel Guides/

Several factors make the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel the most terrifying bridge in Virginia, including the way it is built, the fact that it goes under the water, and its length. For starters, the bridge-tunnel system is 17.6 miles long. The bridge runs for several miles out into the Chesapeake Bay. People who are scared of large bodies of water will be quite uncomfortable as they look over the sides of the bridge and realize they are so far away from land.

About halfway through the bridge-tunnel structure, things get even scarier. The roadway dives below the water into a mile-long tunnel. Claustrophobic people are certainly not going to like being dozens of feet below the surface while traveling in their vehicles.

After driving through the tunnel, the roadway emerges back onto a bridge. The north channel bridges have 75 feet of clearance below them. Drivers basically go on a roller coaster ride as they pass from one end of the structure to the other.

All in all, this bridge is very scary for drivers who don’t like open bodies of water, being far away from land, or being confined underground. However, the bridge has a great record of safety for the millions of people who travel on it each year. In fact, with four million people crossing the bridge per year, the crowding could be considered another one of the reasons that people will not like crossing this structure.

About the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

The total Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel system is 17.6 miles long.

©self, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge–Tunnel is the official name of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The total system is 17.6 miles long, and it carries U.S. Route 13 between the Delmarva Peninsula and Hampton Roads.

Construction crews built the original bridge-tunnel structure between October 1960 and April 1964. However, the carrying capacity of the structure was later increased as what is now the southbound section opened in 1999.

Today, one side of the dual bridge-tunnel system carries traffic north and another carries traffic south. Each bridge span has two lanes, a total of four lanes between both spans. However, the spans come together at the tunnel, and only two lanes of traffic flow through that complex structure.

A second tunnel that runs parallel to the original is under construction. Originally, stakeholders projected the tunnel to open in 2027. This new tunnel will allow two lanes of traffic to flow in each direction, alleviating traffic congestion and reducing the impact of accidents in the tunnel.  

Where Is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on a Map?

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is in eastern Virginia. One foot of the bridge is in the extensive Hampton Roads between Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The second foot is in Cape Charles, the eastern portion of Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula. The structure spans the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Given that this is the only bridge that spans the bay in this area, it’s very easy to find the most terrifying bridge in Virginia. Also, the importance of the bridge becomes immediately obvious when viewing the structure on a map. Without this bridge, people would have to travel far to the north to reach the Delmarva Peninsula.

What Wildlife Lives Near the Most Terrifying Bridge in Virginia

Peregrine falcon landing

Peregrine falcons are often seen near the bridge.

©Harry Collins Photography/

The region surrounding the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a haven for all sorts of wildlife. Specifically, though, the area is well-known as a place to see all sorts of birds. Some of the birds seen in this region include:

These are just some of the birds seen in this area. Many others pass through the region during their migrations.

Other animals live in the water near the bridge-tunnel structure. Some of the wildlife around this area are:

All these animals and many more occupy this region.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is the most terrifying bridge in Virginia because it is incredibly long, high in some parts and underground in others, and it has many people crossing it. Still, the bridge-tunnel structure is very safe. While car accidents happen on this roadway, the structure is sound and should be safe for many years to come.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Paul's Photo Shop/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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