VDOT News - Hampton Roads



Brooke Grow 757-925-1515


Jan. 7, 2013

Complex Operation to Result in Extended Bridge and Maritime Channel Closures

CHESAPEAKE - The Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project on Military Highway will reach a major milestone when engineering and construction crews begin the highly complex operation of the bridge lift span float-in and subsequent connection to the bridge towers beginning today, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.

The complicated nature of this project phase will result in the closure of the existing Gilmerton Bridge to all vehicular traffic for two consecutive weeks beginning at 5 a.m., Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. To ensure motorist safety, the bridge will remain closed in both directions to all traffic during the day, evening and overnight hours during the two-week closure period.

Motorists are encouraged to use the Interstate 64 High Rise Bridge as an alternate route during the bridge closure. Additionally, the new South Norfolk Jordan Bridge in Chesapeake can be used as an alternate tolled route. For more information about this new option, visit www.snjb.net.
Additionally, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) will enforce a navigational closure during this operation at the Intracoastal Waterway mile 5.8 for a five- to ten-day period between Jan. 7 to 16, 2013, with the assistance of local marine law enforcement officers.

During the lift span float-in operation, the 250-foot, 2,400-ton pre-assembled trestle of structural steel will be transported from an onshore site at W-3 Marine in Norfolk, Va. via a 101-foot-long, 1,460-ton barge through the Eastern and Southern branches of the Elizabeth River to the Gilmerton Bridge site.  Upon arrival, the lift span will be staged to a position in the channel adjacent to the existing bridge structure where final installation and vertical alignment to the bridge towers will occur.  

After the new lift span is secured, tested and fully operational, the bridge will re-open, allowing motorists to access the new southside span of the bridge, and permitting mariners to experience enhanced vertical clearance. After the bridge reopens to traffic, project work will continue and will include the demolition of the existing bridge and construction of north-side approaches, with substantial completion scheduled for fall 2013.    

Marc Papini, project manager with Parsons Brinckerhoff who provides project management, construction engineering and inspection services for VDOT, emphasized the significance of this phase of the project which has been years in the making.

"There are numerous complexities associated with constructing, preparing and safely transporting a massive structure of this size through the Elizabeth River," said Papini. "However, we are confident that the close collaboration we've forged over the past few years among construction, engineering and inspection crews as well as the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will result in a very successful and exciting event."

The $134 million Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project will provide a new state-of-the-art vertical-lift span bridge over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and replace the existing double-leaf bascule bridge that was constructed in 1938.  Slated for completion in early 2014, the new 1,908-foot, four-lane bridge will have a vertical clearance of 35 feet in the closed position, compared to the existing 11-foot clearance, and will provide a bridge width of 85 feet to accommodate future expansion of Military Highway. Ultimately, the new bridge will ease traffic congestion for the 35,000 vehicles that use the bridge daily as well as provide taller clearance for enhanced maritime access, thereby leading to fewer annual bridge lifts.  

Updates concerning the two-week closure, waterway channel restrictions, and general information about the Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project can be found at www.GilmertonBridge.org. For current traffic and travel information, visit www.va511.org, call 511, or listen to Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) 1680 AM.

Additional marine updates about channel restrictions at the Gilmerton Bridge can be accessed by consulting the USCG local notice to mariners and the USCG broadcast on VHF channel 16.

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Jan. 7, 2013