Tag Archives: Huguenot Bridge

Mayo Bridge scheduled to be closed Saturday

River lovers, two of the most-used bridges for recreational purposes in Richmond are scheduled to be shut down Saturday. We’re getting accustomed to being without Huguenot Bridge, but the Mayo Bridge will be down Saturday too, though the 14th Street Takeout should be available from the north end, according to a release from the City of Richmond. Plan accordingly! Continue reading

Ralph White discusses how Huguenot Bridge construction will impact environment

Ralph White and Andrew Freiden discuss the Huguenot BridgeThe removal of trees and natural habitats along the James River and scenic Riverside Drive for the construction of the replacement for Huguenot Bridge is complete, but the major three-year reconstruction has just begun. 

James River Park System has a sign just east of the bridge that may answer many questions about the Huguenot Bridge.The James River Park System has a sign just east of the bridge that may answer many questions about how the construction impact the James River Park land below. See the video as NBC12’s Andrew Freiden talks with park manager Ralph White:

So what happens to the wildlife during the construction, and what will happen afterwards? For the answer, we went to James River Park manager Ralph White — a respected voice for river-lovers.

“I’m very supportive of this whole-hearted effort — let’s do it right,” White said. He said VDOT and construction company Skandia listened during the planning process — and they’ve been sensitive to wildlife from Day 1.

See the rest of the interview and the video at www.NBC12.com

Huguenot Bridge construction has removed many trees, habitats

James River Park System has a sign just east of the bridge that may answer many questions about the Huguenot Bridge.There have been some concerned citizens worried about the removal of trees and natural habitats along the James River and scenic Riverside Drive for the construction of the replacement for Huguenot Bridge, which was constructed in 1949. A major three-year reconstruction at the estimated price tag of $51 million began earlier this month.  The James River Park System has a sign just east of the bridge that may answer many questions:

The New Huguenot Bridge

Wetland forest has been temporarily removed. This will provide space for construction and demolition equipment, supplies and access routes needed to build the new bridge and remove the old one.

The site will be restored with native trees and foot paths, but will also include a broad, shallow pond with grasses and shrubs to handle storm water from the bridge and improve ecological diversity. Work began in the winter of 2010 and is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2013.

The new bridge will be located to the west (upstream) of the current bridge. It will look much like the current one except that it will be wider in order to provide a breakdown lane — a feature that will also make the bridge friendly to bicycles and groups of runners.

The old bridge will be taken down in stages. A lane will be removed from the old bridge once a lane has been constructed on the new one. In this way, there will be no elimination of traffic — although travel delays are obviously to be expected. The old bridge was not designed for the volume and weight of traffic that it gets now and has suffered weakening of it’s concrete and rebar components.

Look for the construction of temporary causeways out into the river. These peninsulas of broken rock will allow heavy equipment to build the footings and piers that will support the bridge. At different times, one will come from the south shore and then later one from the north. They are not safe for public recreation and are sensibly off limits to public use. There is a fine for trespassing.

Something to consider:
There have been some temporary negative effects on wildlife. The removal of some large trees means the loss of some tree cavities that were winter roosts and spring nests for woodpeckers, owls, flying squirrels and the like.

The digging up of root balls has unearthed over wintering turtles, snakes, lizards and their eggs. The former tend to find other homes near by since it is park policy to preserve large and/or standing dead trees. The latter are collected by construction workers and either re-located by park staff or kept for release in the spring. When restored, however, the mix of food plants and next boxes used should create an even richer, more vibrant, and more accessible wetlands environment.

If you have any questions or comments, you may contact either m.wright@VDOT.virginia.gov or Park Manager at jriverpk@aol.com

Westham Station Road closing until 2012 for Huguenot Bridge work

Starting Monday, January 3 at 10 a.m., Westham Station Road will be closed to through traffic between Huguenot Road and Old Bridge Lane as part of the Huguenot Bridge replacement project, according to VDOT. Drivers, bikers and runners who would normally access Panorama Drive, Highland Road or Old Bridge Road via Westham Station will use River Road as an alternate route through early 2012.

For more information about the Huguenot Bridge replacement project, visit www.huguenotbridge.org. Questions about the project, call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).

Bikers not happy with Huguenot Bridge replacement plan

Huguenot Bridge will be completely replaced by 2013By Phil Riggan – James River News Hub

There is a certain risk involved in driving across the patched and bumpy old Huguenot Bridge. That risk is even greater if you are running or biking.

Nearly 28,000 automobiles cross the James River each day by way of the bridge, which was constructed in 1949. It is scheduled to undergo a major three-year reconstruction beginning  in January at the estimated price tag of $51 million.

I was not able to attend an information meeting about the plan Tuesday night at Bon Air Elementary School, but I was told many outdoor enthusiasts expressed their displeasure with the reconstruction.

If Richmond is really ready to plan for more greenways and to “rethink our streets” as Mayor Dwight Jones’s Bike, Pedestrian and Trails Commission declared in September, then the time is now, starting with the Huguenot Bridge project. It is a key link for Richmond’s fitness community. Bikers and runners are constantly using the bridge to get to Riverside Drive and the James River Park.

According to VDOT’s plan, the new structure will have one 12 foot lane and one 10 foot shoulder in each direction. There will be a five foot wide sidewalk on each side for pedestrians. The 10 foot shoulder is expected to function as both an emergency pull over and a lane to allow bicyclists to safely use the bridge. The existing bridge is one lane in each direction with a narrow pedestrian sidewalk and no shoulders.

The of the best things about the current bridge is the excellent sight lines of the James River both east and west as you cross the structure. With the new span, the sight lines will be obstructed —  as people found out at the meeting — because of federal regulations requiring higher railings.

With Richmond’s promise to dedicate the “Complete Streets” method of planning for cars, pedestrians, bikers and public transit when upgrading roadways, there was much discussion and opposition to the lack of designated bike lanes on the bridge and as well as leading to and away from the span. 

Many people were concerned that the mistakes made with the reconstruction of the Boulevard Bridge (too narrow, not enough consideration for bikers and walkers) will be made with the Huguenot Bridge.

One man spoke to me about the current plan, alleging that the best bikers can hope for is signage that designates “walkers use the sidewalk, bikers use the shoulder, cars use the roadway.” People at the meeting that opposed the lack of designated bike lanes in the plan said that safety is an issue, but it is also one of respect.

New Huguenot Bridge construction could begin this year

Huguenot Bridge will be completely replaced by 2013Work could begin on the new Huguenot Bridge before the end of 2010. The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $35 million contract today to replace the 61-year-old, two-lane span over the James River that connects River Road on the north side and Huguenot Road on the south side.

The new structure will have one 12 foot lane and one 10 foot shoulder in each direction, according to VDOT. The 10 foot shoulder will function as both an emergency lane and a lane to allow bicyclists to safely use the bridge. In addition, there will be a five foot wide sidewalk on each side for pedestrians. The existing bridge is one lane in each direction with a pedestrian sidewalk and no shoulders. Recent traffic counts indicate the bridge carries an average of 28,000 vehicles per day.

The new bridge will be built in two phases. The first phase will involve constructing the western half of the new bridge while traffic is maintained on the existing bridge. During phase two, traffic will be shifted onto the new section of the bridge that was built during phase one. At that time, the existing Huguenot Bridge will be torn down and the second half of the new bridge will be constructed. VDOT will maintain one lane of traffic in each direction during construction with occasional lane closures during off-peak hours.

Construction should be completed by June 2013. Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc. was the low bidder for the job.

Sounds like the plans are more inclusive to bikers, runners and hikers than the plans for the Boulevard Bridge 10 years ago. What do you think?