PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Everyday, a steady stream of traffic travels over the Churchland Bridge on High Street to cross the western branch of the Elizabeth River. It’s a major thoroughfare in Portsmouth, and it has some major problems.
Inspections show it is structurally deficient and city engineers told 10 On Your Side it has come to the end of its useful life. The bottom line: the bridge, which is more than 60 years old, needs to be replaced, and time is of the essence. That’s because when tolls come to the MLK Expressway, traffic on the bridge is expected to increase.
The city insists it is safe for travel now, but if any new problems arise, that could force load limits on the bridge. By law, city engineers are now inspecting it once a year, as opposed to every other year. The next inspection is set for May.
The price tag for the project is an estimated $29.5 million. Construction is set to begin on the two northbound lanes late next summer and take two years.
The city is holding a general information meeting on the Churchland Bridge replacement project Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Churchland Library.