Belle Isle closed to pedestrians

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Belle Isle is closed for now. Both bridges to the island are blocked and city leaders are asking people to stay off the island at least until the pedestrian bridge re-opens.

That's because a chunk of concrete fell from the Lee Bridge onto the pedestrian bridge over the weekend.

"There was repair work done back in 2005. That repair, the mortar that put it up there. That came down," said Acting City Engineer M. S. Khara.

No one was injured or even saw the concrete fall, but city engineers aren't taking any chances. While they have deemed the Lee Bridge safe but the foot bridge is closed until they build a canopy.

"We're going to make sure that happens. We haven't determined what level of scaffolding we'll put up there, but it will be safe for the pedestrians," said Dexter White, Director of Public Works.

Earlier this month Parks and Recreation shut down a service bridge to the island after cracks and welts were found on that structure. That entrance is barricaded but people have still found a way on the island.

"That's my biggest concern that people will still try to get over there but if they do it's going to make it that much more difficult for emergency folks to get over there and help them if there is a problem," said Director os Parks and Recreation J.R. Pope.

The service bridge could take two months to repair. Until the pedestrian bridge reopens, city leaders are asking folks to stay off the island.

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