#LESNERBRIDGE update from Project Manager – IT’S A WALK OR BIKE OR STROLL WOOT WOOT

From an update just ooooozing with wit and hilarity November 3 2016:

Walkers, Talkers, and Devotees of Bridges (and Public Works):

We have reached that peculiar time of the year when you can watch football, baseball and basketball at the same time; you’re unsure of whether to wear socks with your shoes or not because of the changing weather; and you look for news places to hide the leftover Halloween candy so you can eat it when no one is looking.

Better than all of that is . . . well, I’ll let the words of Chris “Kingfish” Wojtowicz explain: “Folks that travel over the Lynnhaven Inlet are about to experience what it’s like to drive, bike, run or walk across a pre-cast concrete segmental box girder bridge – the new westbound Lesner Bridge.”

I’m sure you have heard this news earlier this week, but somehow hearing it from the Big Cheese of Bridges just adds a certain . . . . je ne sais quois to the message.

As you drive past the Lesner Bridge Replacement Project, you probably notice the fervent efforts of the crews attending to the final details so that Sunday can go as planned. What kind of details, you ask? Wojo explains all in his notes below.

Now, before you plunge yourselves into a sublime reading experience that is a mixture of English and engineering, a couple of points to make about Sunday’s “hoofin’ and footin’” experience.

Several of you have asked: “What if I live on the west side of the bridge – do I have to walk over to the east side and THEN walk back across the bridge headed west?”

No . . . you don’t HAVE to. This is a public bridge and we want Sunday’s time together to be pleasant. We will, however, have a few words from our mayor and/or council representatives before we start off on our trek. Very informal, mind you, but still a chance to gather together. But this event will be going from 2-4 so I’m sure people will be walking back and forth from both sides throughout that 2 hours, so do what moves ya. Just please stay on the sidewalk as you traverse the bridge.

Second, a few e-mails asking if beverages will be allowed. The best way to answer that is to say – as long as they are not alcoholic beverages, there should be no problem. Otherwise, that is a matter between you and our award-winning and highly respected peace officers.

Below is our latest collection of facts, figures and snappy photos – updated for your reading pleasure – that will update you. Don’t skip a word of it and ponder it all.

Feel free to let Chris or me know if you have any questions or need more information.

As a reminder, we are regularly updating information on our WEB page at: http://www.vbgov.com/lesner-bridge. You can also follow us on Twitter at: @lesnerbridge.

If you know of someone who would like to be added to our update list, please have them get in touch with me at this e-mail address and I will be glad to add them. Please feel free to pass this along to others.

** Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour Saturday night, signaling the end of DST for 2016. You don’t want to miss this event Sunday afternoon.

Thanks again for all of your interest and patience throughout this project. So . . . enjoy this weather, look out for each other, and put the phone down while you’re driving.

Drew Lankford
Media and Communications
Department of Public Works
City of Virginia Beach

dlankfor@vbgov.com
(O) 757.385.8062
(C) 757.409.4353

***********************************************************

To All:

It’s taken us a little over two years to get to this point, but folks that travel over the Lynnhaven Inlet are about to experience what it’s like to drive, bike, run or walk across a pre-cast concrete segmental box girder bridge – the new Westbound Lesner Bridge.

At this point we are anticipating the switching of the existing westbound Shore Drive traffic from the old westbound bridge over to the new westbound bridge sometime between 4 and 6 PM THIS Sunday, November 6. Now, before that switch can take place A LOT of finish work has to take place both on and off the bridge. Between now and Sunday afternoon . . . . the following work will take place:

1) Paving of the approaches both at Page Avenue and at East Stratford Street. This work will occur during the evening of November 3 . . . Thursday . . . as in TONIGHT . . . and there will likely be lane closures during portions of this paving operation at both of these intersections at Shore Drive. Please slow down when you approach the bridge during this evening due to this paving work;

2) Grinding and grooving of the bridge deck. This work is ongoing and is expected to be completed tomorrow, Friday the 4th.

3) The temporary barrier service and chain link fence screening needs to be completed along the north side of the new bridge between East Stratford Street and Page Avenue. Since we will eventually move all four lanes of traffic temporarily to the new bridge while the new Eastbound Bridge is built, we are not going to build the 10-wide multi-use path along the north side of the westbound bridge at this time. We are going to use this space to fit these four lanes of traffic and carve out a 3-4 foot wide temporary pedestrian walkway that we separate from traffic using temporary barrier service and the chain link fence screening. This work is ongoing and should be completed by the time we are ready to switch the westbound Shore Drive traffic to the new bridge.

4) Trench drain needs to be installed along the north side of each bridge approach. This work will resume tomorrow, Friday the 4th, after the paving is completed. This drainage system is temporary and will collect stormwater runoff from the bridge approaches when all four lanes of traffic are switched to the new westbound bridge.

5) The new street lights on the bridge have to be powered up. Nine of the twelve street lights on the new bridge have been installed and the electricians are pulling wire to power these lights in time for the bridge opening on Sunday. The remaining three lights will be installed during the next phase of the project and after the gantry crane is moved into position to build the eastbound bridge.

6) Completion of the expansion joints in the parapet walls, barrier walls, and hand railing located at Abutment A on the west side of Lynnhaven Inlet and at Abutment B, located on the east side of Lynnhaven Inlet.

7) Temporary pavement marking of the bridge and traffic transition areas. This work will begin early Sunday morning (11/6) and could continue into early afternoon. Police officers will be located at the intersections of Shore Drive/Pave Avenue and at Shore Drive/East Stratford Street to help with the traffic control while crews work to eradicate the old markings and place the new ones.

8) Adjustment of traffic signal heads and detection cameras. This work will also begin early on Sunday morning and will continue into early afternoon. This work will align the traffic signals and traffic detection cameras to the new lane configurations at the intersections of Shore Drive/Pave Avenue and at Shore Drive/East Stratford Street.

Walkover Info Starts Here

As I already mentioned, with all this work taking place so that we can make this traffic switch – we have planned a “walkover” over the new bridge that will take place on Sunday (the 6th) between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Some details have already been sent out, but I wanted to provide some additional information here.

Walkover from the east side

Folks that want to participate in this “walkover” are asked to meet on the east side of Page Avenue in the grassy area between Page Avenue and Shore Drive.

We will walk from this area, cross Page Avenue and walk within the designated area (there will be caution tape) of the new bridge approach.

Folks will continue to walk/bike across the new bridge until they reach East Stratford Street on the other side.

Walkover from the west side

To cross Shore Drive at East Stratford Street please use the new crosswalk installed on the WEST side of this intersection.

This new crosswalk extends from J&A Racing on the south side of Shore Drive to Chesapeake House on the north side.

Some of the residents who live on the west side of the bridge have asked if they can cross from that side. Yes you may . . . but please stay on the sidewalk over the bridge.

Please note that since we are only moving the westbound lanes of traffic at this time only the NORTH half of the bridge will be open to the public. The southern half of the new bridge is still an active construction zone and will be OFF LIMITS to the general public. The active construction area will be demarcated by concrete barrier service, orange construction barrels and yellow CAUTION tape.

The temporary pedestrian path will be open for all those that wish to use it when walking across the bridge (FYI – there will be some great camera shots of Chesapeake Bay and the Bay Bridge from this walkway for all those photographers out there!). The bridge deck located between the orange construction barrels and the temporary barrier service of the pedestrian walkway will also be open for those that wish to walk or bike across the new bridge (NOTE TO CYCLISTS: use caution when traversing the expansion joint in the roadway section of the bridge. The expansion joint in the pedestrian path section will have a cover plate).

** Since there will be pavement marking work taking place Sunday morning on the bridge, there is a possibility that only the pedestrian path will be available for the “walkover.” Public access to the bridge deck will be determined at the time this “walkover” is set to begin.

Expansion Joint Located in the roadway section of the new Westbound Lesner Bridge

Expansion Joint Located in the roadway section of the new Westbound Lesner Bridge

Expansion Joint Located at the pedestrian path of the new Westbound Lesner Bridge

Expansion Joint Located at the pedestrian path of the new Westbound Lesner Bridge

As you can see, workers will be VERY busy over the next four days preparing the bridge and approaches for this first phase traffic shift. Last week many of you noticed that we have moved the gantry off the bridge and onto the temporary steel falsework built on the north side of the bridge and on the west side of Lynnhaven Inlet. The gantry will be stored at this location for approximately the next six months or until we are ready to move the gantry into position for construction of the eastbound bridge.

Temporary Steel Falsework and Gantry Storage area located on the north side of the new westbound Lesner Bridge and west of Lynnhaven Inlet

Temporary Steel Falsework and Gantry Storage area located on the north side of the new westbound Lesner Bridge and west of Lynnhaven Inlet

Pre-casting of the concrete segments for the eastbound bridge is progressing on schedule. AMI, Inc. in Portsmouth has cast a total of 57 of the 168 bridge segments for the new eastbound bridge.

Over the next four weeks, the bridge contractor will:

· Drive soldier piles along the south side of the westbound bridge approaches along the wire wall and fill this are to widen the approaches in preparation for moving the eastbound traffic to the new bridge ;

· Continue work on the seawall adjacent to the new development located on the former Duck Inn property;

· Complete the 16-inch waterline inside the new bridge;

· Continue painting bridge superstructure and substructure starting at Span 1;

· Install street light pilasters at Abutment A and at Abutment B;

· Continue work on the bridge conduit system;

· Work in median areas on both sides of the bridge in preparation for transitioning the eastbound Shore Drive traffic to the new westbound bridge

Drive Safely and see you Sunday!

– Chris

Christopher J. Wojtowicz, PE
Project Manager
City of Virginia Beach
Department of Public Works
Engineering Division
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456-9031
Office: (757) 385-5785
Fax: (757) 385-5668
Email: cwojtowi@vbgov.com

Screen shot of Construction Cam eastbound view taken 6pm November 3rd 2016

Screen shot of Construction Cam eastbound view taken 6pm November 3rd 2016

Editors note: We added the fancy bold & bigger text to highlight words.

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