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.​

September 11, 2017 Update

We are in the peak of hurricane season and with all of the talk and news coverage of the hurricanes churning in the Atlantic, it is worth noting that should a storm impact this area and winds begin to gust above 90 mph, it will be necessary to TEMPORARILY CLOSE the Lesner bridge to all but emergency vehicles due to the proximity of the construction gantry.  We kept a very close eye on the storm track of Hurricane Irma and were ready to take ​the necessary precautions to secure the Lesner Bridge construction site if needed.  Fortunately, that no longer seems to be a concern. 

Even though storm preparations were being made, construction work on the bridge is continued.  Since the last project update in early August, two more spans of the new eastbound bridge have been completed (spans 2 and 3) and if the weather holds out, McLean Contracting could launch the gantry crane to bridge span #4 as early as Friday, the 15th.

View Looking East from atop the Gantry (New Westbound Lesner Bridge shown on left)

New Westbound Lesner Bridge (left) and Completed Span #2 of the New Eastbound Lesner Bridge (right)

As work continues on the bridge superstructure, other work is being completed concurrently.  Folks that use the Lynnhaven Inlet will notice that the southern half of the new bridge fender system is now being constructed on either side of the main channel.  Within the next few weeks all of the piles for the new fender system will be driven.  The timber rails and walkways as well as the permanent lighting for this fender system will be installed through the month of October, and we anticipate completing it by the first week of November.

New Fender System partially installed along Pier #4 (foreground) and Pier #5 (background) for the Eastbound Lesner Bridge

New MSE wall in front of Bubba's Resturant and the Lesner Inn

Much work is also occurring along Cape Henry Drive on the east side of the bridge in front of the Lesner Inn, and the Virginia and Maryland Pilots Association.  At this location, work has begun on the last MSE (Mechanically Stabilized Earth) wall for the project.  With a length of 645 feet, it is also the longest MSE wall on the project and is expected to be completed by the first week of October 2017. 

Installation of drilled shaft foundations for the bridge pier columns also continues.  All but one of the drilled shafts have been installed for Pier #5 and at Pier #6 only one drilled shaft remains to be placed.  McLean will mobilize the drilling equipment to Pier #7 at the completion of these two drilled shafts.  Preparations for work at Pier #7 have already been made.  The cofferdam at Pier #7 has been installed and the permanent steel casings for the 5 drilled shafts at this location have been delivered to the work area.

In summary, the following work has been completed since our last project update in August:​
      • ​​​Most of the old Lesner Bridges have been demolished, with only a few in-water concrete piles remaining to be removed; 
      • Spans 1, 2, and 3 (of 10) for the new EB bridge have been completed and the gantry crane is being prepared for launching to Span #4; 
      • The footing and column at Pier #4 have been completed; 
      • Streetlight pole foundations on the new eastbound bridge approach between East Stratford Street and the new bridge have been installed; 
      • 9 of the 10 drilled shafts for Pier #5 have been installed; 
      • 4 of the 5 drilled shafts for Pier #6 have been installed; 
      • Work on the southern half of the new bridge fender system has begun; 
      • 9 of the 10 drilled shafts for Pier #5 have been installed; 
      • Approximately 400 linear feet (of 645 linear feet) of MSE Wall #5 (in front of Lesner Inn) has been build 
​​AMI, Inc. in Portsmouth, continues to build the superstructure of the new Lesner Bridge.  A total of 163 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 the end of this month. 

Over the next two weeks, the bridge contractor will:
      • ​​Complete drilled shaft foundations at Pier #5; 
      • Complete drilled shaft foundations at Pier #6; 
      • Complete pile installation for the new bridge fender system; 
      • Begin assembly of the superstructure for bridge span #4; and 
      • Continue work on the new MSE wall along the south side of Shore Drive between the new bridge and Vista Circle (in front of Lesner Inn); 
That's it for now.  Please 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 recrea​tional 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.

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.​​​​​​