NORFOLK, Va. — Driving across the Hampton Boulevard Bridge in Norfolk can get busy.
Resident Lolita Albergottie said she jogs and drives across the bridge every day. Her ride will get a little hectic next week, though, as city crews plan to start a renovation project on the bridge.
To protect the bridge from deteriorating, crews are improving the northbound side by adding a new deck overlay; repairing the structural concrete, girders, piers and piles; replacing the bearing and expansion joints; and replacing the timber fender system. The project is expected to cost $7.7 million.
“The northbound structure was rehabilitated in the 90s when the southbound structure was constructed," Tammy Halstead, a civil engineer for the city, said. "So, we haven’t really done rehab since then.”
Halstead said roughly 40,000 vehicles drive across the bridge each day. But it's not the amount of traffic causing the bridge to wear down.
“It’s more the overload vehicles," Halstead said. "That’s why we do permitting and charge for oversized vehicles because they do overstress the structure.”
The project is divided into four phases. Halstead said each phase will take about three months to complete. The year-long project is also set to bring a new traffic pattern to those who use it daily.
“I guess we have to be flexible and alert,” Albergottie said.
Different lanes will close for each part of the project. The first phase starts with closing the inner northbound and southbound lanes. The east side sidewalk will close during the second and third phases. One southbound lane will be converted to a northbound lane during Phase 3, which will reduce southbound traffic to two lanes.
“We’re trying to expand the life expectancy, reduce our maintenance costs and push replacement farther down the road,” Halstead said.
“If the outcome is worth the temporary inconvenience, I guess as a resident we can just be patient, but I just hope it’s worth it,” Albergottie said.
Construction is set to begin Monday, July 11. Construction takes place from Mondays to Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City leaders expect construction to wrap up by mid-2023. Then, the city will prepare to repair parts of the Campostella Bridge. That project should start by fall 2023.