CHESAPEAKE - It's the day thousands of drivers have been waiting for - the new Gilmerton Bridge will open.
The Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project began in November 2009 to replace the old bridge built in 1938. The $140 million lift bridge is 35 feet high instead of 11 feet and is four lanes.
According to VDOT, 35,000 vehicles use the bridge which crosses the southern branch of the Elizabeth River on Rt. 13 each day.
Governor Bob McDonnell and Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff attended the grand opening and dedication ceremony and the bridge was to open in time for the afternoon rush hour.
“Transportation projects like this one are a major component to make Hampton Roads a thriving region. Today’s bridge opening follows a historic year for transportation, with billions of dollars in new funding invested in road and bridge projects across the state," McDonnell said.
Spokeswoman Brooke Grow says there's still some work to be done for the next few months around or underneath the bridge. Nightly lane closures will continue while that work is being done.
Project work will continue on the Gilmerton Bridge as crews construct the fender system and other ancillary work. The Gilmerton Bridge will resume weeknight closures, Sunday through Thursday, beginning Nov. 17, 2013 through March 2014.
During the weeknight closures, motorists are encouraged to use the Interstate 64 High Rise Bridge as the preferred alternate route. In addition, the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge in Chesapeake can be used as a tolled alternate route.