Westbound lanes of Lesner Bridge open for the first time in 2 years

13News Now Steven Graves has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) -- It's an opening two years in the making that Virginia Beach residents say their happy to see.

On Friday, the westbound portion lanes of the Lesner Bridge opened up to traffic.

The 116 million-dollar project began in June of 2014. It was to replace two spans built in 1958 and 1967.

"We've been watching and waiting for a couple months. They've postponed [the opening] a couple of times," said nearby resident, Dennis Atkins.

Construction on the bridge has seen its share of issues. Multiple vehicle accidents have occurred over lane and sign confusion. One of the most recent was a crane accident. No one was injured.

"Sometimes in the morning you have the bicyclists and there's not enough room for the bicycle and the cars," said Sharon Atkins.

The completed east and westbound bridges will have six plants altogether and a wide, multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists.

As construction continues, eastbound traffic is expected to be shifted to the new westbound span in December so that work can begin on the eastbound side.

City officials say because of this, congestion in the area will most likely stay the same.

"This isn't going to do anything to change the traffic condition on Shore Drive," said Project Manager, Chris Wojtowicz. "We're simply replacing an old bridge."

"I'd still watch out for other drivers cyclists, pedestrians. We'll have a lot of people in that same space."

The newly opened bridge currently has a path that is open to pedestrian traffic. 


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