CHESAPEAKE, VA – After being struck twice by barges earlier this year, the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans on closing the North Landing Bridge for six hours to partially repair the damaged structure.
On June 21, weather permitting, the district will close the bridge to both vehicle and commercial waterway traffic from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to make the necessary repairs.
“We have a lot of barge traffic that utilizes the waterway; currently, only opening the bridge for those larger vessels one time a day means we are stopping traffic for more than 30 minutes, which is why we need to make these initial repairs to be able to safely open additional times per day,” said Joel Scussel, the Norfolk District’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway project manager.
The district is working with the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate detours, and notifying mariners of the impending closure.
Motorists traveling from Virginia Beach to Chesapeake will take Indian River Road to Kempsville Road to Centerville Turnpike to Mount Pleasant Road.
Motorists traveling from Chesapeake to Virginia Beach will take, Centerville Turnpike, to Kempsville Road to Indian River Road to Mount Pleasant Road.
The bridge has been operating on a limited schedule since being initially hit by a barge on March 1, 2016. Openings were further restricted after a second barge hit the bridge on June 4, further damaging the structure.
Contractors will make repairs to the concrete abutment, grinding and painting steel girders as well as fixing chipped teeth in steel gears that were broken during the last incident.
When initial repairs are complete, the Norfolk District expects to operate the bridge back on a limited schedule of only one span opening every hour and half hour between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. and on demand after 7 p.m. for smaller watercraft.
Both spans will open for larger watercraft at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Due to the bridge’s age, all replacement parts will need to be fabricated and District anticipates fully repairing the bridge this fall, which would bring it back to its normal operating schedule.
The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal allows for 1-million tons of commerce to safely travel north and south along the waterway.
The North Landing Bridge handles approximately 11,000 vehicles per day under normal conditions.
The district has issued a notice to mariners and will continue to keep the boating and local communities informed through local media, its web site and social media pages.