Two aging Richmond bridges to get inspected

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two aging bridges that connect Shockoe Bottom to the southside in Richmond, are undergoing a major check up. And soon, you'll start to see some lane closures that may affect your commute.

Right now, city leaders stress the historic Mayo Bridge, along with the Manchester Canal Bridge are safe. That Manchester Canal Bridge is just a little bit further down past the Mayo, on the city's southside. But while okay for now, a 16 month study may mean these two brides could be replaced.

From the Bottom up and everywhere in between, engineers will be inspecting these two bridges closely for the next 5 months. And it's easy to see why. Our camera caught some problems; a crumbling wall, wear and tear from over the years. It's all stuff that Major Wright sees everyday.

"It's seen a lot of changes because of the traffic here. But, above all, it needs to be replaced because of it's age," said Major Wright, Sr. who uses the Mayo Bridge everyday.

About 17,000 cars use the bridges everyday. The current Mayo Bridge is almost 100 years old. The canal bridge is not too far behind that.

"At this point, can we keep rehabilitating it and repairing it, or do we need to replace it?" said Sharon North, with the City of Richmond.

That's the question the city is trying to answer. For the first five months, crews will inspect the bridge. That's when you'll see those lane closures, set to start in the middle of September. Then a second phase of the start.

"They will look at the recommendations that come out of the first phase and determine how feasible it is to do whatever is recommended," added North.

Then, for several months, city leaders will fine tune those plans.

The same work will be done on the Manchester Canal Bridge, which you can see here is just a few steps south of the Mayo Bridge. Of course, if there are any problems with the bridges found during the inspection, crews will fix it, depending on how urgent the need is.

Eventually, several public meetings will be held to get your input on what you think the city should do. Also, Major Wright urges you to get involved.

"If they think it needs to be replaced, do what I do! And say yes, it needs replacing," said Wright.

The work should be done by December of 2011.

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