CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The new Poindexter Street Bridge connecting South Norfolk to the Berkley community opened to traffic two weeks ago with the ribbon-cutting ceremony held Wednesday morning. 

Mayor Rick West says this bridge is so much more than just a new way for drivers to get around.

“This is part of the big picture of what we’re trying to accomplish in South Norfolk. Not just ‘trying’ but ‘going to accomplish’ and that is the revitalization to make it a viable economic center for Hampton Roads,” West said.

Nearby business owners said it’s already breathing new life into the community. 

“I can see the life of my customers,” said Christopher Dawson, owner of Chris Styles Unisex barbershop and hair salon. “They are very excited. They don’t have to wait for that bridge anymore.”

Dawson said he’s already noticed a few new businesses popping up near his. 

“It’s easier for people to come back through here again,” he said.

The old 22nd Street Bridge was deemed unsafe and closed in 2018.

Drivers were frustrated about how long they had to wait for trains to cross a set of railroad tracks during the closure.

While the new bridge was being constructed, residents told 10 On Your Side that the trains would cause traffic to stop for 20 to 30 minutes, creating big backups.

An inspection deemed the old bridge unsafe, and it was closed.

“The railroad track has really been an inconvenience,” Dawson said.

Those traffic troubles are part of the past. Now, they look ahead to the future. 

“We know that South Norfolk is going to be the place where everyone in Hampton Roads is going to want to come because it’s going to be a very cool place,” West said.

Highlighted in purple, improved routing between I-264 and the SNJB includes the new Poindexter Street Bridge (indicated by a pink star)

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