RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The south end of the Mayo Bridge is now closed, as crews begin repairs to the flood wall. It's a headache for drivers, many of whom were caught off guard Monday morning.
Crews are replacing the metal tracks that guide the flood wall into place when it closes. The tracks take a beating from an estimated 17,000 cars per day, according to city traffic engineers.
Angela Fountain with Richmond's Department of Public Works says the bridge closing is a necessary part of the work.
"Because it's a construction area and because the place that's being repaired is actually located in the street, we need to close the entire bridge to do that," Fountain said.
In planning for the work, the city alerted businesses in the area to the coming traffic issues.
"We let everybody know in the area that this was coming well in advance so they were able to make alternate arrangements," said Fountain.
Some drivers say they weren't in the loop, and their frustration was evident as car after car made an abrupt about-face.
"More gas, more inconvenience, and nothing has been planned for that. So somebody should talk about it," said Adel Elteir, who lives in Chesterfield and works downtown.
City officials hope drivers' discontent will soon be water under the bridge.
"The benefits will definitely outweigh the inconvenience, we hope," said Fountain.
Traffic won't return to normal in the area of the bridge until April 26, when crews hope to be finished with the repairs. In the meantime, a detour takes traffic across the 9th Street or Manchester Bridge into and out of downtown.