November 22, 2023

The Ripple Effect: Five Things to Know About Lake Bradford / Chubb Lake Improvements

ICYMI: The Lake Bradford-Chubb Lake Stormwater Pump Station project was outlined to residents at a Nov. 1 open house meeting.

The Ripple Effect Flood Protection Program

Situated along the Chesapeake Bay, the northwest section of Virginia Beach includes residential areas, thriving businesses and critical military installations like Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek (JEBLC). The Lake Bradford-Chubb Lake Stormwater Pump Station project was outlined to residents in a Nov. 1 community presentation. Here’s what you need to know about The Ripple Effect, Virginia Beach’s Flood Protection Program improvements in the Lake Bradford / Chubb Lake master program area and how they are progressing.

1. The Master Program Area

The Flood Protection Program master program area encompassing Lake Bradford / Chubb Lake extends south from Chesapeake Bay to the Church Point and Thoroughgood neighborhoods. It is primarily bounded on the west by JEBLC and the Lake Shores community. To the east, the project area includes much of the Chic’s Beach neighborhood.

Vital assets within the project area include:

  • Shore Drive (a major east-west connector for the city, and access for JEBLC Gates #3 and #5)
  • Pleasure House Road (the main ingress-egress corridor for the Chesapeake Beach community)
  • Portions of Northampton Boulevard
  • Approximately 150 businesses, three schools, three churches, and one fire station

2. Master Program Recommended Solutions

A preliminary engineering report, completed in February 2022, recommends the following improvements to the existing stormwater infrastructure:

  • Additional stormwater storage for storing excess runoff (locations TBD)
  • Larger culvert improvements for increased conveyance
  • A new pump station to manage water surface levels

Funding for two initial projects was made available with the passage of the 2021 Flood Protection Program bond referendum.

3. What Happens First

Since the entire stormwater system in the program area drains into Lake Bradford, the first step to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness is managing water surface levels. In this case, it would mean a new pump station that:

  • Will be built on military property near Chubb Lake and discharge into the Chesapeake Bay following a thorough evaluation of potential sites
  • Must be operational before other projects in the area are implemented
  • Will have a design capacity of 375 cfs (cubic feet per second), which equates to the ability to draw down and empty an Olympic-sized pool in three minutes.

4. Benefits of the Project

To draw down the water surface levels ahead of a coastal storm for Lake Bradford and Chubb Lake (these lakes are connected), it currently takes approximately 10 days. Once operational, the new pump station will be able to draw down water levels in just 16 hours. This increased drawdown rate offers a huge preparedness advantage, allowing more time to monitor storm forecasts before initiating the drawdown process prior to a storm event.

The new Lake Bradford-Chubb Lake pump station is just one part of an integrated strategy for the program area, benefiting the following roads and neighborhoods:

  • Bradford Acres
  • Chesapeake Beach
  • Northampton Boulevard
  • Pleasure House Road
  • Shore Drive

5. Moving Forward

The final design and construction of the new pump station will be procured as a design-build project. The City will select a design-build team by the end of next year. The selected team will take the initial design concept to final design and then to construction. Before ground is broken—currently anticipated for early 2027—the design-builder will present the final design at a public meeting.

The Virginia Beach Flood Protection Program—The Ripple Effect—is a comprehensive 10-year plan to address recurrent flooding in Virginia Beach. In November 2021, Virginia Beach voters overwhelmingly supported a resiliency package for several key flood protection initiatives to include drainage improvements, tide gates, pump stations and flood barriers throughout the city. The projects are led by Public Works with support from a community oversight board for transparency and accountability. Learn more at

Contact Information

Public Works Stormwater Engineering Center

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