Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project
Project at a Glance
Est Completion Date
EST $134 million
Robert A. 'Bud' Morgan, PE, Construction Manager
To receive information about this project, please send an e-mail to GilmertonInfo@VDOT.Virginia.gov with the subject line: SUBSCRIBE.
Gilmerton Bridge Float-In Slideshow and Overview
Time Lapse Video of Float-In January 7, 2013
About the Project
The Gilmerton Bridge Replacement project on Military Highway in the city of Chesapeake will provide a new lift span bridge over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and replace the existing 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 when the lift span is opened, will be constructed in 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
Winter 2010 - Lane closures and speed reductions begin
January 2014 - Fixed completion date
Gilmerton Bridge Project Details
- 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
- First-in-the-industry Joint Project Risk Management Plan
- Among the largest drilled shafts ever constructed using the oscillator method
- BIM Modeling – 4D program for structural steel detailing and erection
- Project-dedicated Public Information Officer
- On schedule for substantial completion and within budget
- 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
- 14-day closure allowance to 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: Comprised 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.
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
Phase I: Commencement of project: November 2009
Shift existing four-lane traffic to two-lane traffic
Install 12-foot drill shafts
Construct two southbound lanes, approach spans, lift span and towers
Install mechanical and electrical lift system
Phase II: January 2013
Float-in of lift span
Connection of span to towers
Shift traffic to new bridge, southside lanes
Phase III: Fall 2013
Demolition of existing bridge
Construct north-side approaches
Construct new fender system
Open all travel lanes
Final Completion: January 2014
Rush Hour Restrictions:
During all phases of construction, attention will be 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
ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, December 2013
Construction Management Team
Virginia Department of Transportation
Dennis Heuer, P.E., District Administrator
Mark Cacamis, P.E., State Construction Engineer
Mike Davis, P.E., District Construction Engineer
Bud Morgan, P.E., Area Construction Engineer
Ricardo Correa, P.E., Design Manager
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.
Engineer of Record
Modjeski and Masters – Moveable Bridge
Gannett Fleming – Approach Bridges
PCL Civil Construction, Inc.
EV Williams Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Why do you have to close the bridge overnight during the tower construction phase?
A:Crews will be assembling the towers over the existing Route 13 Gilmerton Bridge. These assembly activities include lifting steel beams from large cranes over the roadway, putting them in place and connecting them. These activities will be take place about 200 feet off of the ground and over the existing roadway. Traffic cannot be safely maintained while these activities are underway.
Q. How long will the bridge be closed?
A. During the tower construction phase, the bridge will close Sunday through Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. These overnight bridge closures are required throughout this phase of construction.
Q. Is there a detour or alternate route?
A: Motorists are encouraged to use the I-64 High Rise Bridge or the
I-264 Downtown Tunnel as an alternate route during overnight bridge closures.
Q: Why is this project important to our region and the city of Chesapeake?
A:The Gilmerton Bridge is a vital transportation route for over 35,000 motorists per day. The bridge replacement project will support the future widening of Military Highway and has many features to ease traffic congestion and maritime movement in Hampton Roads, for many years to come.
Q: What are the key features of construction and proposed milestone dates?
A: The bridge replacement project will be reconstructed in three phases. First, the contractor will construct the eastbound side of the bridge, which should be complete in approximately two years. Motorists will be limited to one lane in each direction and shifted to the westbound lanes of the bridge during this Phase. During Phase Two, the bridge will be closed for 14 days to allow for the new bridge to be floated in via barge. Finally, during Phase Three, the contractor will construct the westbound lanes of the bridge, shifting motorists to the east for this final two years of construction.
Q: Why is VDOT replacing the Gilmerton Bridge?
A: The Gilmerton Bridge was constructed in 1938 as a twin bascule span, four-lane bridge. In service for more than 70 years, this type of bridge system has reached its life expectancy.
The new 1,908 foot bridge will have a vertical clearance of 35 feet in the closed position, compared to the existing 11-foot clearance. The project will be constructed on the existing Military Highway alignment and will provide a bridge width of 85 feet to accommodate future widening of Military Highway from four lanes to six lanes. Ultimately, the new bridge will be wider to accommodate traffic congestion and taller for enhanced maritime access leading to fewer annual bridge lifts.
Q: When will the project be completed?
A: The project is scheduled to be completed in January 2014.
Q: What will the new bridge look like?
A: The existing Gilmerton Bridge is a twin bascule bridge system which consists of two spans, or leaves, which meet in the middle and swing up horizontally over the channel to open. The new bridge is a lift span bridge, which elevates up to accommodate maritime traffic, and then descends to close.
Q: Why does the bridge take so long to build?
A: The replacement bridge will take approximately three years to build while remaining open to vehicular traffic. Although construction of the span will take time, the project team coordinated the construction schedule to significantly less impact on the motoring public.
Q: I would like to have a Gilmerton Bridge presentation at my business, association or civic organization meeting. How can I schedule this?
A:Contact the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Office of Public Affairs to schedule a presentation. Call 757-322-0616 or email Lynn Polizos.