Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715


Nov. 14, 2013

Governor McDonnell Opens the New Four-Lane Gilmerton Bridge in Chesapeake
From the Offfice of the Governor

CHESAPEAKE - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today the opening of the new four-lane Gilmerton Bridge on Military Highway in Chesapeake, one of the most innovative bridge replacement projects in the state. The new $140 million vertical lift bridge, which replaced the former double-leaf bascule bridge built in 1938, will ease traffic congestion for the 35,000 vehicles that use the bridge daily and provide taller clearance for ships.

The governor joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) with the city of Chesapeake during a ribbon cutting event held on the bridge's lift span. The new bridge opens to traffic at 4:00 p.m.

"The Gilmerton Bridge Project is a perfect example of transportation dollars being put to excellent use to ease congestion, improve safety and accommodate future growth," said Governor McDonnell. "Transportation projects like this one are a major component to make Hampton Roads a thriving region. Today's bridge opening follows a historic year for transportation, with billions of dollars in new funding invested in road and bridge projects across the state. This investment allows the commonwealth to rehabilitate aging pavements and structures, as well as expand capacity to improve Virginia's transportation network."

Chesapeake Mayor Alan P. Krasnoff added, "The new Gilmerton Bridge is a key transportation link for the citizens of Chesapeake and the entire Hampton Roads region. Chesapeake thanks VDOT for their swift work on the Gilmerton Bridge, and especially for keeping traffic moving even as a new bridge was taking shape."

The new bridge is 1,908 feet long with a vertical clearance of 35 feet in the closed position and up to 135 feet when the lift span is opened. Key project benefits:

  • Reduce motorist congestion at Gilmerton Bridge and alternate routes
  • Increase clearance to accommodate marine and motorist traffic with fewer bridge openings
  • Increase lane width to improve traffic flow and accommodate future widening of Military Highway

In January 2013, the project reached a major milestone with the float-in of the 250-foot, 5.2- million-pound, pre-assembled lift span which was transported seven nautical miles via a barge through the Elizabeth River to the Gilmerton Bridge site where final installation and vertical alignment to the bridge towers occurred. The lift span float-in proved to be a seamless operation with project crews working 24/7 shifts to complete this phase of the project in half of the allotted time.

Project work will continue on the Gilmerton Bridge as crews construct the fender system and other ancillary work. The Gilmerton Bridge will resume weeknight closures, Sunday through Thursday, beginning Nov. 17, 2013 through March 2014.

During the weeknight closures, motorists are encouraged to use the Interstate 64 High Rise Bridge as the preferred alternate route. In addition, the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge in Chesapeake can be used as a tolled alternate route.

General information about the Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project can be found at

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Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Nov. 26, 2013