One lane of bridge over Chickahominy River reopens
One lane of the Route 5 bridge connecting James City and Charles City counties was reopened Thursday. It's unclear how long one lane will remain shut down. The partial re-opening means that drivers can avoid a 63-mile detour. Some 3,700 people cross the Chickahominy River daily on the two-lane, swing-span drawbridge. One wooden support pier and the wooden pier itself was found to be badly damaged by an inspection Wednesday. This damage was reported by crews installing an underwater electrical cable to supply power to the 65-year-old bridge. Jeff Caldwell, a VDOT spokesman, told WVEC.com that the crews discovered a large "cave-type" hole under one of the pier's concrete pads.
WVEC.com has learned that the bridge is inspected annually and was last inspected in November, 2003. Caldwell said the report showed that there was minor scour (erosion) along floor of the riverbed.
"It's very routine to see that, with the moving water and currents, and especially because of the span's age," he said.
The bridge was built in 1939. It's 2,025 feet long with 29 spans and is 24 feet wide from curb to curb. It's made of timber pilings and has was built using timber pilings and has a concrete and steel driving deck.
It was called the Barrett's Ferry Bridge until it was renamed the Judith Stewart Dresser Memorial Bridge in 2003.