James River Bridge reopens, second closure scheduled

Published 4:53 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

According to VDOT, as of approximately 4:40 p.m., Monday, Jan. 15, the Route 17 James River Bridge (JRB) reopened to vehicular travel ahead of schedule, following the first of two, multiday closures scheduled for critical maintenance. During the first outage, 40 of the bridge’s 80 counterweight wire ropes, necessary to lift the bridge span for marine traffic, were replaced.

At this time, the JRB will remain closed to marine vessels that require a bridge opening and is anticipated to reopen for scheduled bridge lifts within the next few hours, as crews ensure the bridge span is aligned and operating properly after a series of test lifts. An additional update will be provided to maritime subscribers by text message.

The contractor will replace the additional 40 counterweight wire ropes during a second full, extended closure of the JRB scheduled from 1 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2 through 5 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6. Bridge lift restrictions may extend up to an additional 24 hours through 5 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7.


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If unable to implement the closure during the scheduled dates, VDOT will provide advance notice to the public should the contractor need to utilize the following approved backup dates of 1 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 through 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12 (Tuesday, Feb. 13 for marine traffic requiring bridge lifts).

During the closure, a signed detour will be in place to direct motorists to the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as one of the primary alternate travel routes. Additional alternate routes include the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry and Route 460.

For maritime travel during the closure, marine vessels that do not require a bridge opening can continue to use the navigational channel under the bridge throughout the project’s duration. However, during this timeframe, no bridge openings can be performed for marine vessels that require a bridge lift. Maritime travel impacts may extend up to an additional 24 hours to ensure the bridge span is aligned and operating properly after a series of test lifts.

Sign Up for Updates:

For those interested in closure updates related to marine-specific traffic, subscribe to receive updates via text message by texting the message “MARITIME” to 833-748-0519.

Additionally, the public can also subscribe to receive project and roadway traffic updates via email and by text message by signing up on the VDOT project website or by texting “MOTORIST” to 833-748-0519.

During the closure, motorists are encouraged to limit or plan their travel before heading out with VDOT’s free traffic information tools:

  • Download the 511 Virginia smartphone app or the 511-integrated Waze app
  • Visit the 511 Virginia website or
  • Dial 511 for traffic information on your phone.

About the Project:

PCL Construction was awarded the $3.49 million construction contract in August 2023. Crews began preliminary work in November 2023 to expedite the onsite work ahead of the upcoming replacement of the counterweight wire ropes. The JRB Wire Rope Replacement Project is necessary to extend the operational life of the JRB and keep the bridge in good operating condition while also reducing unscheduled repairs, improving safety, and increasing the bridge’s performance reliability.

For more information on the project, visit the VDOT website at www.VirginiaDOT.org/JRBropes