#LESNERBRIDGE update from Project Manager: “noting that should a storm impact this area and winds begin to gust above 90 mph, it will be necessary to TEMPORARILY CLOSE the Lesner”

Update from email:

Residents/Folks/Travelers/Bridge Gazers:

As the hot, steamy days of summer give away to the almost-as-hot days of a Hampton Roads autumn, we find ourselves exchanging the soft summer breezes for the brutal breezes that feel like needles painfully piercing your face and arms from the winds of the latest tropical storm. As you fuel your generator and horde lots of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee and peanut butter, you might want to stockpile some reading material. Why not start with this update?

Mr. Chris the Kingfish and his crews having been plugging away all summer on the popular Lesner Bridge project. Included in this update is chit chat about the gantry, the fender system, a cofferdam, and mechanically stabilized earth. (Some of us will be breaking into discussion groups once we have completed the reading, hoping to dig through some of that deep sub-text that comes with these engineering updates.)

As always, we appreciate your questions and e-mails, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are regularly updating information on our WEB page at: http://www.vbgov.com/lesner-bridge. You can also follow us on Twitter at: @lesnerbridge. If you haven’t already signed up for the City’s FB page or Twitter account, I encourage you to do so so that you receive timely updates from all things City-related.

If you know of someone who would like to be added to our update list, please have them get in touch with me at this e-mail address and I will be glad to add them. Please feel free to pass this along to others.

Thanks again for all of your interest and patience throughout this project. And don’t forget . . . stay safe, look out for each other, and put the phone down while you’re driving.

Drew Lankford
Media and Communications
Department of Public Works
City of Virginia Beach
(O) 757.385.8062
(C) 757.409.4353



We are in the peak of hurricane season, and with all of the talk and news coverage of the hurricanes churning in the Atlantic, it is worth noting that should a storm impact this area and winds begin to gust above 90 mph, it will be necessary to TEMPORARILY CLOSE the Lesner Bridge to all but emergency vehicles due to the proximity of the construction gantry. We kept a very close eye on the storm track of Hurricane Irma and were ready to take the necessary precautions to secure the Lesner Bridge construction site, if needed. Fortunately, that no longer seems to be a concern.

Even though storm preparations were being made, construction work on the bridge continued. Since the last project update in early August, two more spans of the new eastbound bridge have been completed (spans 2 and 3) and if the weather holds out, McLean Contracting could launch the gantry crane to bridge span #4 as early as this Friday the 15th.

View Looking East from atop the Gantry (New Westbound Lesner Bridge shown on left)

New Westbound Lesner Bridge (left) and Completed Span #2 of the New Eastbound Lesner Bridge (right)

As work continues on the bridge superstructure, other work is also being completed concurrently. Folks that use the Lynnhaven Inlet will notice that the southern half of the new bridge fender system is now being constructed on either side of the main channel. Within the next few weeks all of the piles for the new fender system will be driven. The timber rails and walkways, as well as the permanent lighting for this fender system, will be installed through the month of October, and we anticipate completing it by the first week of November.

New Westbound Lesner Bridge (left) and Completed Span #2 of the New Eastbound Lesner Bridge (right)

New MSE wall in front of Bubba’s Restaurant and the Lesner Inn

A lot of work is also occurring along Cape Henry Drive on the east side of the bridge in front of the Lesner Inn, and the Virginia and Maryland Pilots Association. At this location, work has begun on the last MSE (Mechanically Stabilized Earth) wall for the project. With a length of 645 feet, it is also the longest MSE wall on the project and is expected to be completed by the first week of October.

Installation of drilled shaft foundations for the bridge pier columns also continues. All but one of the drilled shafts have been installed for Pier #5 and at Pier #6 only one drilled shaft remains to be placed. McLean will mobilize the drilling equipment to Pier #7 at the completion of these two drilled shafts. Preparations for work at Pier #7 have already been made. The cofferdam at Pier #7 has been installed, and the permanent steel casings for the 5 drilled shafts at this location have been delivered to the work area.

In summary, the following work has been completed since our last project update in August:

    · Most of the old Lesner Bridges have been demolished, with only a few in-water concrete piles remaining to be removed;

    · Spans 1, 2, and 3 (of 10) for the new EB bridge have been completed and the gantry crane is being prepared for launching to Span #4;

    · The footing and column at Pier #4 have been completed;

    · Streetlight pole foundations on the new eastbound bridge approach between East Stratford Street and the new bridge have been installed;

    · 9 of the 10 drilled shafts for Pier #5 have been installed;

    · 4 of the 5 drilled shafts for Pier #6 have been installed;

    · Work on the southern half of the new bridge fender system has begun;

    · 9 of the 10 drilled shafts for Pier #5 have been installed;

    · Approximately 400 linear feet (of 645 linear feet) of MSE Wall #5 (in front of Lesner Inn) has been built.

AMI, Inc. in Portsmouth, continues to build the superstructure of the new Lesner Bridge. A total of 163 of the 168 segments have been cast for the new eastbound bridge. It is expected that all bridge segments for the eastbound bridge will be cast by the end of this month.

Over the next two weeks, the bridge contractor will:

    · Complete drilled shaft foundations at Pier #5;

    · Complete drilled shaft foundations at Pier #6;

    · Complete pile installation for the new bridge fender system;

    · Begin assembly of the superstructure for bridge span #4; and

    · Continue work on the new MSE wall along the south side of Shore Drive between the new bridge and Vista Circle (in front of Lesner Inn);

That’s it for now. Please drive safely!


Christopher J. Wojtowicz, PE
Project Manager
City of Virginia Beach
Department of Public Works
Engineering Division
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456-9031
Office: (757) 385-5785
Fax: (757) 385-5668
Email: cwojtowi@vbgov.com


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