CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The new High Rise Bridge opened to traffic the morning of Saturday, July 16.

The taller bridge is next to the existing High Rise, with a 100-foot clearance over the Elizabeth River to eliminate the need for bridge lifts.

VDOT says it will initially carry two lanes of westbound I-64 traffic to Virginia Beach. Eastbound traffic on I-64, to Suffolk, will remain on the existing bridge.

Motorists can expect continued construction activities on the shoulders, including nighttime, single-lane closures.

Crews have already completed the replacement of the Great Bridge Boulevard Bridge, which opened to traffic in November 2021, and will continue to work on bridge widenings over Military Highway, Yadkin Road and Shell Road. 

Contractor crews with Granite-Parsons-Corman will work on the project milestone using a traffic shift overnight starting as early as Friday, July 15.

Single-lane closures will be in place on I-64 west from Shell Road to the existing High Rise Bridge, beginning as early as 8 p.m. to install barrier walls separating east- and westbound traffic from Shell Road to the new bridge approach. 

With a taller vertical clearance than the existing High Rise Bridge, the new, fixed-span bridge eliminates the need for bridge lifts for westbound traffic.

What about potential tolls? Well, VDOT says there won’t be any mandatory tolls unless you choose to use planned HOV lanes while being a solo driver.

As part of the I-64 Southside Widening and High Rise Bridge Expansion Project, an Express Lane is being built in each direction from Bowers Hill to nearly 1 mile past I-464, to include the High Rise bridges.

Once the Express Lanes are operational, vehicles with two or more passengers and equipped with an E-ZPass Flex Transponder switched to “HOV ON” can take the Express Lanes free of charge.

Solo drivers may choose to use the Express Lanes by paying a variable toll with a properly-funded E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex Transponder.

All lanes of the existing and future bridges will not be tolled, only the Express Lane in each direction. 

Following the initial opening of the new High Rise Bridge, the remaining construction will include widening the corridor to three lanes by adding an Express Lane in each direction from 0.6 mile east of the I-264 interchange at Bowers Hill to 0.9 mile east of the I-464 interchange.

Additional project improvements include: 

  • Replacement and realignment of the Great Bridge Boulevard Bridge over I-64; 
  • Widening of six existing I-64 bridges over Military Highway, Yadkin Road and Shell Road; 
  • Installation of nearly 8 miles of sound wall; 
  • Reconfiguration of the existing High Rise Bridge to carry one-directional traffic (eastbound towards Suffolk); and 
  • Completion of an asphalt overlay for existing interstate lanes.

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