Lesner Bridge Replacement

Rendering of the Completed Lesner Bridge Structure

Construction Cam​​era

A construction camera​ has been installed to view images of the bridge construction.  Images are updated on the hour.​

April 6, 2017 Update​

To All:

Since the last project update in December much has changed on the Lesner Bridge crossing Lynnhaven Inlet!  On the evening of January 17th, 2017 the eastbound lanes of Shore Drive traffic were switched over to the new westbound Lesner Bridge thus completing Phase 3 of 5 on the project and preparing the way for the demolition of the old Lesner Bridges and the construction of the new eastbound Lesner Bridge.  Demolition of both old bridges began on January 25th, 2017 and continues today.  Contrary to what some folks believed, NO BLASTING will be used to in the demolition of the old bridges.  In fact, the decks of the bridges have been strategically cut to allow each beam of each span to be removed individually.  Most of the removed beams with attached deck will be transferred to barges for disposal at Cabbage Patch Reef located off the shoreline of Kiptopeke State Park.  Some of the removed degraded beams were chosen by Virginia Tech to be saved and transported to Blacksburg for strength testing - but that is another story.   The remaining piles of the bridge are cut off 4-feet below the ground surface if they are on land or are vibrated out if they are located within the water.

Center Steel Spans of the Old Lesner Bridges Removed

Pile Removal from Old Lesner Bridge

​​Cabbage Patch Reef Located in the Chesapeake Bay

Barge Loaded with Beam and Deck Sections of the Old Lesner Bridge

We are not waiting for the old bridges to be completely removed before beginning construction of the new bridge.  All of the foundation piles from bridge abutment A (west side of the Lynnhaven) have been installed and the first of three concrete pours for the footing was completed on 3/28/2017. The four drilled shaft foundations for Pier column #1 were completed today, March 30th and over the weekend crews will move drilling equipment over to the cofferdam already installed for Pier column #2.

Completed Footing Base at Abutment A

In summary, the following work has been completed since the last project update (12/21/2016):​
      • ​​​All Shore Drive traffic moved to the new westbound Lesner Bridge; 
      • Approximately 40% of the old Lesner Bridges have been demolished; 
      • All wick drains located at both bridge abutments have been installed; 
      • All of the remaining piles for Abutment A have been driven; 
      • The footing for Abutment A has been completed; 
      • The steel reinforcing for the segment pedestal and backwall at Abutment A has been installed;
      • All four drilled shafts for Pier Column #1 have been installed; 
      • Retaining walls for new sidewalk installed along the southeast corner of East Stratford Street and Shore Drive. 
​AMI, Inc. in Portsmouth, continues to build the superstructure of the new Lesner Bridge.  A total of 102 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 August 2017.​

Over the next two weeks, the bridge contractor will:
      • ​​Continue Bridge Demolition; 
      • Install the drilled shaft foundations at Pier #2; 
      • Complete the construction of Abutment A; 
      • Continue filling and grading operations at the new bridge abutments; 
      • Install the new traffic signal pole and foundation on the southeast corner of Shore Drive and East Stratford Street;​ 
      • Begin excavation for the leveling pad of the new MSE wall along the south side of Shore Drive between East Stratford Street and the new bridge; 
      • Begin installation of the steel falsework between Abutment A and Pier #1 to support the segment assembly gantry crane.​​

That's it for now.  P​lease drive safely!



This project first appeared in the FY 2002-03 CIP and is included in the Governor’s Transportation Plan. Lesner bridge was identified for replacement through the City’s bridge condition inventory and the Shore Drive Transportation Study.  In VDOT’s final FY2014 six-year plan, the State shifted prior VDOT funding to out years, but requested the City maintain the prior schedule.  The City Council approved substitution of contractual obligation debt on August 13, 2013 so the project could be bid for construction, with agreement that VDOT would provide $10,453,200 in FY 2014-15, $13,000,000 in FY 2016-17, and $14,220,117 in FY 2017-18 and the local debt would be decreased in those years accordingly.  Bid were opened on December 21, 2013 and the construction contract executed with McLean Construction on April 28, 2014.  The Notice to Proceed for construction was issued for June 2, 2014. 

Work Description

This project will replace the existing Lesner Bridge with a signature facility that is capable of handling six lanes of traffic in the future. The replacement bridge structure will be striped for two lanes of traffic and wide shoulders.  The inside lane will be 12 feet wide and the inside shoulder will be 6 feet wide.  The outside lane will be 14 feet wide and the outside shoulder will be 8 feet wide. Each bridge will also have a 10 foot wide multi-use path for use by pedestrians and recreational cyclists. The proposed bridge will be designed to provide minimum 45 feet vertical clearance above mean high water and 225 feet minimum horizontal clearance at center navigation channel span. This project also includes upgrades to the intersections of East Stratford Street and Vista Circle (the termini for the project), as well as aesthetic upgrades within the project limits.

McLean Construction, Inc. began the project June 2, 2014.

As a reminder, the sidewalk on westbound Shore Drive is closed to pedestrians and cyclists between Page Avenue and East Stratford Street.  If pedestrians need to cross the bridge, they will need to cross the eastbound bridge where a temporary 4-foot wide pedestrian/cyclist access has been provided.​


Additional information is available on the Lesner Bridge Project Detail Sheet​

​​​Select Lesner Bridge Replacement Project Archive​ to view past updates for this project.​​​​​​