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Jan. 12, 2023

New systems will help prevent damage to bridges and extend their life cycles

SOUTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently installed overheight vehicle detection systems on five interstate segments approaching the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights and Petersburg. The systems were installed primarily to help prevent damage to interstate overpasses with a short vertical height clearance in the cities by alerting overheight vehicles before they reach the bridge. Visible alerts now signal drivers to pull over in designated areas to make alternate plans and prevent bridge strikes.

The new detection systems will flag overheight vehicles at the following locations:

  • I-95 north at mile marker 41.5 (Templeton) in Prince George County
  • I-64 west at mile marker 207.4 (two miles east of Bottoms Bridge) in New Kent County
  • I-95 south mile marker 88.7 (just south of Lewistown Road) in Hanover County
  • I-64 east at mile marker 172.6 (just west of Rockville) in Goochland County
  • I-85 north at mile marker 60 (one mile south of Route 460) in Dinwiddie County

“We have seen 54 bridge strikes on interstate overpasses in the City of Richmond since 2018,” said Tanveer Chowdhury, PE, Richmond District Maintenance Engineer. “Many of the overpasses within city limits have existing low vertical height clearances, and most have Richmond city utilities such as gas and water running beneath the bridge decks. The same concerns extend to bridges in Colonial Heights and Petersburg.”

“Until the bridges can be replaced and the vertical height clearance raised, these warning systems will ideally reduce bridge strikes and costly damage to VDOT infrastructure and our trucking partners’ equipment,” said Robb Alexander, PE, Richmond District Traffic Operations Director. “Additionally, bridge strikes can close one or more lanes of traffic and cause heavy delays for other drivers while those incidents are cleared.”

The Richmond region’s first overheight detection system was installed at the Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge on Route 156 in Prince George and Charles City counties in 2017. Since its implementation, the bridge has seen a 100 percent decrease in bridge strikes and a major improvement in operations, with fewer incidents requiring drivers to use a detour route that can add up to 30 minutes to their travels. Similar systems also exist in the Hampton Roads region.

To learn more about Virginia Department of Transportation’s bridge program, visit


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: May 19, 2023