VDOT News - Fredericksburg
|IMMEDIATE - 4:50 p.m.
Darragh Frye 540-899-4119
June 17, 2021
BRIDGE OPENINGS AT GWYNN’S ISLAND NOW SCHEDULED FOR MARINE TRAFFIC
Effective immediately, bridge over Milford Haven will open six times a day to allow boats to pass until long-term repair project later this year
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will open the bridge at Gwynn’s Island to marine traffic six times a day until a long-term repair project begins later this year.
Effective immediately, the moveable swing span bridge over Milford Haven will open to boats at the following times: 2 a.m., 5 a.m., 8 a.m. 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The scheduled bridge openings will ensure vehicles on Route 223 (Old Ferry Road) have continuous access to travel between Gwynn’s Island and mainland Mathews County, especially emergency services.
Since June 10, VDOT suspended bridge openings to marine traffic after the structure could not be closed properly. When the structure opens to watercraft, Route 223 closes to vehicle traffic, which leads to congestion and unpredictable travel times for Gwynn’s Island residents and visitors, and disrupts access for emergency services.
The scheduled times will allow the bridge to open to large vessels and reduce the frequency of heat-related disruptions.
During periods of intense summer heat, the steel expands on the bridge and it becomes stuck in the open position following an opening for marine traffic. VDOT crews pump water on the bridge’s steel grid deck to cool its temperature, which allows workers to close and secure the movable portion.
The reduced hours will prolong the operational life of the moveable swing span and restore boaters’ direct access to the Piankatank River and Chesapeake Bay.
A maintenance project is scheduled to start in late 2021 that will improve the condition of the bridge’s mechanical elements connected with the moveable swing span.
Mariners can check 511Virginia for real-time updates or call VDOT Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).
Built in 1939, the bridge over Milford Haven opens to marine traffic more than any other state-maintained movable bridge in Virginia. It opens approximately 3,000 times a year.
VDOT’s 14-county Fredericksburg District includes the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford in the Fredericksburg area; Northumberland, Richmond, Lancaster and Westmoreland counties in the Northern Neck; Essex, Gloucester, King & Queen, King William, Mathews and Middlesex counties in the Middle Peninsula.
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