Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel: Power Monitoring SCADA System

Success Stories

Power Monitoring for Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission chose Affinity Energy to upgrade their power monitoring SCADA system. The completed system, which Affinity Energy developed using VTScada software from Trihedral, went into service in January 2015.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

For over 50 years, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has captured worldwide attention as a modern engineering wonder and important East Coast travel convenience. The 23-mile (37 km) fixed link crosses over and under the open waters at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. state of Virginia, providing a direct link between Southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula. It has carried over 100 million vehicles and cuts 95 miles from the journey between Virginia Beach and points north of Wilmington, Delaware.

The redundant SCADA monitoring and control system integrated by Affinity Energy has greatly enhanced the situational awareness of our power system infrastructure and improved our remote breaker control operation from minutes to a matter of seconds.

–Ray Wood, Electronics/Communications Superintendent, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel


The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was using a system based on FactoryTalk to communicate with electrical substations in the two toll plazas and on each of the four islands in the bridge/tunnel complex. Communication occurred through their existing PLC network to the protective relays, meters, and trip units in the substation. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel indicated severe problems with the data refresh rate and performance in controlling the breakers.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was interested in capturing live data of voltage, current, load, etc., from electrical feeders in the substation. They also wanted to capture the breaker status, have the ability to remotely open/close breakers in the substations, and start/stop emergency generators. Alarms and notification were also a high priority for the operators.


VTScada met the qualifications for redundancy, remote viewing via workstation, and mobile devices, and was very economical. Because the users were very comfortable with the look and feel of the existing equipment, Affinity Energy developed the system to mimic the current system. They submitted a complete design package with network diagrams, points lists, equipment lists, and example work from other projects.

The SCADA system includes two Redundant Dell Poweredge® Servers (in the tunnel control rooms on Islands 1 and 3) which host the SCADA application and server screens. Two workstations were installed for the operators to view screens and manage the system. The servers communicate with the equipment in the substations over a new fiber backbone, directly to Eaton Power Xpert® gateways within the gear.


With the new system, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel operators can now view their data via mobile devices. They can now operate breakers from anywhere on the network within five seconds and can reliably view system live data, status, events, alarms, and history. Most importantly, the redundant servers gave them true ease-of-mind.

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