Construction to begin soon to replace Huguenot Bridge

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Out with the old, in with the new.  The state okayed a 35 million dollar contract Wednesday to replace the Huguenot Bridge.

Expect to see construction crews out there by early November.

People who use the bridge a lot say depending on the time of day, traffic can be a nightmare.

They hope adding a construction project to the mix doesn't slow them down even more.

For Linda Pattee, the Huguenot Bridge is the fastest way from point A to point B.

She drives it three to four times a week.

 "Traffic can be significant it can make my time go from 20 minutes to 40 minutes," said Pattee.

An upcoming construction project may throw a wrench into her commute.        

 Starting this fall, Norfolk-based Skanska Construction will begin to replace the 61 year old span which underwent emergency repairs this summer.

"The scary thing is when you go underneath it in a canoe when you can see all the rust underneath," said David Gwyer.

VDOT predicts minimal impact for the 28-thousand people who drive across it daily.

"If they really mean minimal impact that's important but traffic is always a concern because I'm not good with time management I want it to be as quick and easy and safe," said Pattee.

If you're wondering how it will all come together, crews will build the new one right next to the existing Huguenot Bridge and start with one lane.

Once that is done, traffic will be shifted from the old bridge to the new one. 

As crews tear down the old bridge, they'll put up the second lane.

"It will definitely be a nice smooth road hopefully it will have more access for bikers and

walkers going across," said Gwyer.

Sidewalks are in the plans, plus 10-foot shoulders in each direction for cyclists and emergency stops.

Crews hope to finish the job in two years.

 "The sooner the better as long as they get it finished on time if they're starting in the winter it's more likely they'll have delays," said Pattee.

The construction company expects to finish the job by October 2013.  Last year, it completed another bridge project seven months ahead of schedule.

 Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.