Map of construction project districts

Recently Completed

Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project


Project Photos

Project at a Glance

Begin Date
November 2009

Est Completion Date
Completed October 2015

EST $134 million


Robert A. 'Bud' Morgan, PE, Construction Manager

About the Project

The Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project on Military Highway in the city of Chesapeake consisted of the construction of a new vertical lift span over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  The new bridge replaces the double-leaf bascule bridge that was constructed in 1938.

The new bridge, 1,908 feet long with a vertical clearance of 35 feet in the closed position and up to 135 feet in the open position, has been constructed in three phases on the existing Military Highway alignment. The new bridge width of 85 feet will accommodate future widening of Military Highway from four lanes to six.

November 1, 2009 – Start construction
January 2013 – Float-in of lift span and attachment of span to bridge towers

October 2015- Completion date

Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project Fact Sheet

Project Updates

To receive information about this project, please send an e-mail to with the subject line: SUBSCRIBE. 

Photos: Set 1 |  Set 2  |  Set 3

Tower Construction Photos: 
Aug 2012 | Jul 2012 | May 2012 | Apr 2012 | Mar 2012 | Jan 2012 
Dec 2011 | Nov 2011 | Oct 2011 | Sept 2011 | May 2011 | Apr 2011

Lift Span Construction Photos: 
Aug 2012 | Jul 2012 | Mar 2012 | Dec 2011 | Aug 2011 | May 2011 

Drilled Shaft Photos: 
Can and Drill Rig | Oscillator Can | 12 ft. Shaft Rebar Cage | 12 ft. Drilled Shaft & Oscillator 


Gilmerton Bridge Float-In Slideshow and Overview


Gilmerton Bridge Project Details

Project Benefits

  • Reduced motorist congestion at Gilmerton Bridge and alternate routes
  • Increased clearance to accommodate marine and motorist traffic with fewer bridge openings
  • Increased lane width to improve traffic flow and accommodate future widening of Military Highway


Project Highlights

  • First-in-the-industry joint project risk management plan
  • Among the largest drilled shafts (12 ft.) ever constructed using the oscillator method
  • BIM Modeling – 4D program for structural steel detailing and erection
  • Project-dedicated public information officer



  • Limited access between railroad and existing bridge
  • Limited construction vibration
  • Restricted channel closures for maritime traffic
  • Coordination with Norfolk Southern Railroad
  • Tower erection over existing roadway
  • Building new bridge over and under existing bridge
  • Maximum 14-day closure allowance to float-in and set new lift span
  • Tower jacking for possible foundation settlement
  • Demolition of existing bridge under the newly constructed bridge

New Vertical-Lift Span Bridge

Four-lane, vertical-lift bridge: Composed of a single span which rises vertically, remaining parallel with the bridge deck, to accommodate maritime traffic and then descends to close.

Located on Military Highway, west of Bainbridge Boulevard

Crosses the Southern branch of the Elizabeth River

Lift Span Length: 250 ft.

Open Position:  135 ft.

Close Position: 35 ft.

Bridge width: 85 ft. wide.

Vertical lift towers: 207 ft. tall each; include 1,009 steel members, each 
ranging from 5,000 pounds to 150,000 lbs.

Construction Facts

Eight 12-ft.-diameter drilled shafts, among the largest in diameter ever constructed in the U.S. using the oscillator method with temporary casing

Total length of drill shafts: 124 ft.

10 million pounds of structural steel

3.1 million pounds of reinforcing steel

30,000 cubic yards of concrete

7,000 cubic yards of structural fill

4,500 linear feet of drainage pipe

Four 15-ft.-high retaining walls

Eight 15-ft.-diameter sheaves

200 different assembly lots of bolts


Project Timeline

Phase I: Commencement of project:  November 2009

Shift of existing four-lane traffic to two-lane traffic
Installion of 12-foot drill shafts
Construction of two southbound lanes, approach spans, lift span and towers
Installation of mechanical and electrical lift system

Phase II:  January 2013

Float-in of bridge lift span
Connection of span to towers
Shift of traffic to new bridge, southside lanes

Phase III:  Fall 2013

Demolition of existing bridge
Construction of north-side approaches
Construction of bridge protection system
Opening of all travel lanes

Estimated Final Completion: Fall 2015


Rush Hour Restrictions:
    During all phases of construction, attention has been given to minimizing impacts to the motoring public, including during peak travel periods such as morning and afternoon rush hours.


In the News

Modern Steel, January 2013

"Widening the Gap"


ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, December 2012

"Bascule Bridge Constructed Over Existing Crossing"


Construction Management Team

Virginia Department of Transportation
James S. Utterback, P.M.P., District Administrator
Mark Cacamis, P.E., State Construction Engineer
Bud Morgan, P.E., Area Construction Engineer
Ashton Lawler, P,E., State Structures and Bridge Division
Mitch Layton, Construction Manager


Construction, Engineering & Inspection

Parsons Brinckerhoff (Lead)

Hardesty and Hanover

McDonough Bolyard Peck, Inc.


Seventh Point Transportation PR


Engineer of Record

Modjeski and Masters – Moveable Bridge

Gannett Fleming – Approach Bridges


General Contractor

PCL Civil Construction, Inc.


Major Subcontractors

EV Williams Inc.

McLean Contracting

DT Read

Edwards Electric

Bristol area projects Salem area projects Staunton area projects Lynchburg area projects Culpeper area projects Richmond area projects Northern Virginia projects Fredericksburg area projects Hampton Roads projects
Page last modified: Dec. 8, 2015