SUFFOLK - There's a new plan for closing lanes on the James River Bridge to replace the grid deck.

The Va. Dept. of Transportation announced Wednesday that it will keep one lane open in each direction and drivers will have a crossover point to move to the other bridge.

The news comes as businesses in Isle of Wight County complained that closing the southbound lanes completely hurt their earlier this month cut sales dramatically.

Del. Rick Morris (R-64th District) was happy with the decision.

'There had to be a way to rework this.'

Carrollton business owner Tom Pruitt had put up a sign opposing the shutdown of southbound lanes. On Wednesday, that sign had been replaced with one that thanked Del. Morris and VDOT for the change.

The new traffic pattern will be in place for several weekends from 9:00 p.m. Fridays and ending at 5:00 a.m. Mondays.

The first closure with this new schedule is September 28 as VDOT prepares the crossover point.

Then grid deck replacement work will resume Friday, Oct. 5 and could take seven additional weekend lane closures, depending on the weather, VDOT stresses. The dates for the additional closures haven't been determined.

The I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel will be open during JRB construction.

While the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel will also be open as an alternate route, VDOT says drivers using the JRB should expect delays. The $3.8 million grid deck replacement project will remove the bridge's existing steel grid deck, perform various repairs to the deck's substructure, install a new steel grid deck and balance the counterweights of the lift mechanism. All work should be complete in Winter 2013.

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