Single-lane closures on James River Bridge begin ahead of planned four-day shutdowns

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

The James River Bridge will see single-lane closures over the next three weeks in preparation for the first of two four-day shutdowns.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has awarded an $8 million contract to PCL Construction to replace 80 2-inch-thick wire cables original to the 41-year-old drawbridge.

PCL began preliminary work on Nov. 9. Motorists will see single-lane closures of the bridge’s northbound lanes through 2:30 p.m. today, and intermittent stoppages southbound through 3 p.m.

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Normal southbound traffic flow will resume from 3-9 p.m. Another window will open from 5-9 a.m. on Nov. 10.

Single-lane closures in both directions are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Nov. 13-16 and Nov. 20-21.

According to a VDOT news release, the single-lane closures will facilitate the replacement of auxiliary counterweight ropes. During this work, the drawbridge will be unable to open for marine vessels from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Nov. 13-17 and Nov. 20-22. Drawbridge openings will be allowed from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. Vessels that don’t require a drawbridge lift will still be able to pass under the bridge during the preliminary work.

In April, VDOT estimated the two four-day shutdowns – one for each drawbridge tower – would occur between Nov. 15 and Feb. 15, each lasting from 1 a.m. on Friday through 5 p.m. the following Tuesday, during which time all four traffic lanes will be impassable.

VDOT still hasn’t announced specific dates for the four-day closures, but said in October that due to the 45-day notice required by PCL’s contract, the first of the two extended closures would not begin in November.