NEWPORT NEWS-- The James River Bridge is under repair, and VDOT is giving a behind the scenes look.

The bridge was built in the 1980s and the steel grids along the top of the roadway need to be replaced. South side panels are being replaced now, and north side panels next.

'There are 60 panels on each side of the bridge. They're about 415 feet in length. It's about 29 and half feet wide. And the new panels are about eight feet in length, and they go the full length of the roadway,' Duane Cook of VDOT operations said.

While this work goes on, the speed limit drops to 25 mph. The work could take anywhere from 9 to 12 more weeks, as old panels get removed and new ones get welded into place. Monday, there will be four brief lifts related to the maintenance work. They will last up to 15 minutes and occur between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

'We haven't had any incidents related to the work zone. People are complying with the speed limits voluntarily in making traffic flow very smoothly,' Cook explained.

While the work is done, one lane in each direction is closed. This happens Friday nights through Monday mornings. 'I know it's an inconvenience, and I seem to think that a lot of people have diverted. And I appreciate that,' Cook remarked.

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