CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake residents received some long-awaited good news about one of their oldest bridges on Monday.

The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, awarded a $59.5 million contract to Archer Western LLC to replace the Deep Creek Bridge.

According to USACE, the two-lane bridge was originally built in 1934 for $64,000 to help drivers go over the Dismal Swamp Canal and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The District’s effort to replace the bridge began in 1977.

“We’re thrilled and honored to announce this major milestone,” said Col. Brian Hallberg, Norfolk District Commander. “People in Deep Creek have waited a long time for this project and won’t believe it’s happening until there are shovels in the ground. That day is coming.”

The replacement was justified after noting increased traffic congestion and the structure’s “failure to meet width and design load standards.”

The Norfolk District engineers first recommended bridge replacement in 1977, but it was rejected. In March 1996, the Chesapeake city manager, citing city plans to improve the Route 17 corridor, asked USACE take a second look.

With Congressional authorization and funding in hand, the Norfolk District tried again in 1998. After those results were given to Congress in 2003, again recommended a replacement of the bridge.

In 2007, Congress authorized the replacement project. In the 2020 WRDA, they reauthorized the project for $59.5 million.

Roadwork will start in June of this year with an anticipated completion date of June 2026. The new bridge construction will occur alongside the existing bridge, according to Walt Trinkala, the Norfolk District project manager.

The existing bridge will be replaced by a 144-foot-long, 60-foot-wide, five-lane, dual-leaf drawbridge.

Once the federally owned bridge is completed, the City of Chesapeake will own and operate the new structure.

There will be changes to traffic flows and closures throughout the rebuilding process.

The City of Chesapeake provided this document from a May 16 presentation, with updated visual details on the Deep Creek Bridge construction project.

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