JRB wire rope replacement to affect traffic this month

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Virginia Department of Transportation contractor, PCL Construction, has begun preliminary work on the James River Bridge wire ropes replacement project at the bridge, which carries Route 17 between Newport News and Isle of Wight County.

This preliminary work involves the removal and replacement of the existing auxiliary counterweight ropes on the JRB, ahead of the larger-scale replacement of the main counterweight wire ropes at a later date, according to a VDOT news release.

As a result of this preliminary work, the bridge cannot conduct any openings for marine vessels requiring a bridge lift from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., Nov. 13-17 and Nov. 20-22. Bridge openings will be allowed from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. during this period. However, marine vessels not requiring a bridge opening can continue to use the navigational channel under the bridge throughout the duration of the work.

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For motorists traveling the JRB, this part of the project also includes single-lane closures in both directions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Nov. 13-16 and Nov. 20-21, Upon completion of the auxiliary rope replacement work, test bridge lifts will be performed as necessary.

This work and scheduled closures are weather permitting and subject to change.

The replacement of the auxiliary counterweight ropes is being done this month in order to expedite the work for the upcoming replacement of the remaining 80 counterweight wire ropes, which will require two continuous 100-hour full bridge closures.

In accordance with contract and federal requirements to restrict bridge lifts during the full JRB closures, PCL Construction submitted their proposed work plan to the United States Coast Guard for review and approval, which PCL provided in mid-October and could take up to 45 days to review.

Once approved and finalized, VDOT will communicate the specific dates for the full operational closures at the JRB to the public.

For more information on the project or to sign-up for text and/or email alerts, visit VirginiaDOT.org/JRBropes.

Motorists can access information through the various 511 options on Waze, online and by dialing the number.