WSSI’s careful permitting strategy and regulatory navigation guided this high-profile transportation project through a maze of state and federal natural resource protection regulations to get to construction. Our compliance inspectors work closely with the project crew and administrators to ensure that the road development – which includes widening along approximately nine miles of highway and a new 6,000-foot long bridge span over the Elizabeth River.

The Challenge

Shepherd this complex roadway project with multiple impacts to natural resources through a variety of ecosystem conditions and regulatory requirements to protect wetlands, subaqueous bottom lands, and federal waterways, as well as endangered and threatened species.

Once underway, work with construction team to keep the project operating in the confines of the permits in every action, every day.

Our Solution

For the permitting aspects, WSSI identified the sensitive resources in the project corridor, and worked with regulatory agencies to obtain authorization for necessary impacts, while protecting resources where possible.

  • Clean Water Act Section 404/401: WSSI developed permitting strategy and obtained Individual Permits for necessary impacts from both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). WSSI has worked with the project team to modify existing permits to address additional impacts that have become necessary in construction.
  • Virginia’s Subaqueous Bottomlands and Coastal Zone Protections: WSSI obtained authorization from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), and a Coastal Zone Consistency Determination from the DEQ. WSSI obtains modifications from the VMRC as needed when project impacts change.
  • Clean Water Act Section 408: Because the project required work in the Elizabeth River’s Federal Navigation Channel with alterations to the channel boundaries, WSSI obtained Clean Water Act Section 408 certification from the COE. WSSI also secured Section 408 certification and Nationwide Permit authorization for pre-construction geotechnical work. Section 408 coordination required WSSI to develop a Maritime Work Plan (MWP) that included a description of the proposed maritime undertaking, a Disaster Response Plan, and a Communication Plan. WSSI then coordinated with multiple parties, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Virginia Maritime Association, the Virginia Pilots Association, and the Virginia Port Authority to obtain concurrence. In that process WSSI incorporated comments from the various groups to ensure that the proposed work would not adversely affect their use of the waterway.
  • Endangered and Threatened Species Act Section 7: WSSI staff coordinated with regulatory agencies regarding the presence of various Endangered and Threatened Species including Atlantic sturgeon, northern long-eared bat, and peregrine falcon, and regarding Essential Fish Habitat. WSSI negotiated with the National Marine Fisheries Services and VMRC to use confined bubble curtains to mitigate potential acoustic impacts to fisheries from the driving of hollow steel piles.

WSSI’s project compliance inspection team is a cadre of dedicated, experienced employees who know the permits, the site, and the staff. WSSI knows the project – and the limitations imposed to protect sensitive resources – and can quickly spot potential issues before they become problems. Our attention to detail allows the contractor to stay ahead of matters that could sidetrack and delay the project, keeping things moving forward smoothly. Our full-time, on-site wetland permit compliance staff monitoring during construction to ensure adherence to those requirements at 266 impact locations.

WSSI inspectors also observe all concrete pouring and grouting operations on or near the Elizabeth River, ensuring every pour has the appropriate control measures in place and any accidental discharges are mitigated promptly and reported if necessary. Inspectors also provide support for dewatering procedures and provide a daily status update and photo log for the in-stream construction of a special design wall on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The inspectors report any issues of non-compliance to the DEQ and COE, document the pre-construction conditions with photographs, and complete monthly monitoring reports for DEQ.

* The permitting portion of the project was completed by WSSI’s Virginia Beach office, formerly known as Kerr Environmental Services, Inc.

Project Facts
  • Owner
    Virginia Department of Transportation
  • Location
    Chesapeake, VA
  • Size
    ~9 miles
  • Curtis Hickman

    Virginia Beach, VA

  • Ian Phipps

    Virginia Beach, VA