NORFOLK -- The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, awarded a $59.5 million contract today to Archer Western LLC of Norfolk, Virginia, to replace the Deep Creek Bridge in Chesapeake, Virginia.
“We’re thrilled and honored to announce this major milestone,” said Col. Brian Hallberg, Norfolk District commander. “People in Deep Creek have waited a long time for this project and won’t believe it’s happening until there are shovels in the ground. That day is coming.”
Built in 1934 at a cost of $64,000, the Deep Creek Bridge is a federally owned and operated two-lane bridge that crosses the Dismal Swamp Canal and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at U.S. Route 17 in Chesapeake’s Deep Creek community.
The District’s effort to replace the bridge began in 1977.
“I am so pleased that our partners at the Army Corps of Engineers are reaching this significant milestone towards the replacement of the Deep Creek Bridge, said Chesapeake Mayor Rick West. “I know this is one project our Deep Creek neighbors, and everyone who commutes through the area, have been so anxious for and I can’t wait to see work get started.”
Noting traffic congestion and the structure’s failure to meet width and design load standards, Norfolk District engineers first recommended replacing the bridge in a January 1977 feasibility study, but that recommendation was rejected. In March 1996, the Chesapeake city manager, citing city plans to improve the Route 17 corridor, asked USACE to again study the feasibility of replacing the bridge. The District published its initial appraisal two months later and again requested Congressional authorization for a feasibility study.
With Congressional authorization and funding in hand, the Norfolk District initiated a new feasibility study in 1998 and those results were transmitted to Congress in a March 2003 Chief of Engineers Report recommending replacement of the bridge.
In 2007, Congress authorized the replacement project in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 and, in the 2020 WRDA, reauthorized the project at a cost of $59.5 million.
“Countless people in multiple agencies and across four decades got us to this day,” Hallberg said. “I’m proud of them all, our partners at the City of Chesapeake, and the current project delivery team for their persistence in always pushing this forward.”
Construction is expected to begin in June 2023 and completed in June 2026, with the new bridge construction occurring alongside the existing bridge, Walt Trinkala, Norfolk District project manager said.
The existing bridge will be replaced by a 144-foot-long, 60-foot-wide, five-lane, dual-leaf drawbridge. Replacing the bridge will improve traffic flow and meet Virginia Department of Transportation and City of Chesapeake requirements.
Once completed, the City of Chesapeake will own and operate new Deep Creek Bridge.
Though traffic flow across the bridge will continue during construction, commuters should expect delays. Traffic impacts will be listed on the Chesapeake Travel Advisories Calendar, and broadcast via Twitter at @ChesapeakeRoads.