SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Suffolk city staff is recommending the Kings Highway Bridge be rebuilt on a new route.

Wednesday night in Suffolk, Robert E. Lewis, the city public works director recommended the City Council move forward with proposal 2 for the Kings Highway Bridge replacement.

That plan would not rebuild the bridge — which closed in 2005 and was torn down — on its original footprint. Instead, it would build it from Kings Highway in Driver to Five Mile Road, off Godwin Boulevard.

The bridge would have a maximum clearance of 35 feet and cost roughly $186.3 million — more expensive than putting the bridge back where it originally was.

However, staff says it’s best to rebuild the bridge on a different route, as it will not overload the Village of Chuckatuck with additional traffic and will have less impact on existing homes and businesses.

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This project is not funded currently, but a resolution to include it in the 2022 Legislative Priority package, which asks the state for money, and 2040 Comprehensive Plan will be voted on by City Council at its next meeting.

Mayor Mike Duman says he would support the realignment even though it wasn’t one favored the most by public comment.

Public feedback is as follows:

  • Alignment #1 (Previous site): 48%
  • Alignment #2 (New alignment): 30%
  • Do nothing: 22%

Councilman Roger Fawcett likes option 2. He believes it has a long way to go but thinks it’s the best move for the future of the community.

In August 2020, WAVY reached out to the Virginia Department of Transportation to learn more about past discussions for a new bridge. Here’s their statement:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) participated in the survey for the demolition of the old bridge in 2008 at the request of the City of Suffolk. All raised concerns were considered at that time. In 2008, VDOT maintained that section of Kings Highway and VDOT’s Structures and Bridge division determined that due to the state of the bridge it could not be maintained. Funding was obtained to replace it at that same location. The City of Suffolk preferred a different location for the new bridge, which increased the magnitude, and therefore the cost, of the project. The funding for the new location was not available.