The James River Bridge is the world’s second-longest bridge

The James River Bridge is the world's second-longest bridge

In 1864, the longest James River Bridge erected during the Civil War crosses the James River at Weyanoke Point. Union engineers from both sides of the river put 101 pontoons in position to build a 700-yard bridge. The current was so strong at this point in the river that six schooners were stationed midway across the bridge to lend assistance. On June 14, 1864, the bridge was completed in about seven hours, and for three days after that, a queue of ambulances and supply waggons stretching for fifty kilometres rumbled over it. Troops were also shuttled across the bridge before it was quickly demolished on June 18 morning. James Gardner took this glass plate shot from the river’s north bank.

The James River Bridge is a four-lane divided highway lift bridge that spans the James River in Virginia, United States. The James River Bridge, which crosses the river near the river’s mouth in Hampton Roads with US Route 17, US 258, and State Route 32, is owned and operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation. It is the most eastern such crossing that does connect Newport News on the Virginia Peninsula with Isle of Wight County in the South Hampton Roads area. not have a tunnel component.

When it was finished in 1928, the 4.5-mile James River Bridge was the world’s longest bridge over water. From 1975 to 1982, the original two-lane bridge was rebuilt with a bigger four-lane bridge that could manage rising traffic levels. The bridge had an annual average daily traffic of roughly 30,000 cars per day in 2005.

The two-lane US-17 James River Bridge, constructed in 1928, was the first fixed link across Hampton Roads. It was a 20-foot-wide road from curb to curb. From 1975 to 1982, the new four-lane bridge was built in sections. US-258 and VA-32 are both crossed by the bridge.

Looking northeast towards Newport News from the US-17 James River Bridge. A 415-foot-long vertical lift span with 60 feet of vertical clearance, when closed, crosses the shipping channel. Upstream of this bridge, there are no naval sites, although there are civilian port facilities in Hopewell and Richmond. The James River Bridge spans 4.5 kilometres.

About 100 feet north of the new bridge, the old bridge was a low-level trestle. It was wholly distinct from the new James River Bridge, and it was dismantled after the new bridge opened, with the exception of a 1/2-mile section from the Newport News shore that remains as a fishing pier.

Riding west on an old lift span in June 1980. Take note of how tiny the old 10-foot lanes were. To the left, a new lift span is being built. When closed, the new lift span has 60 feet of vertical navigational clearance, compared to 50 feet for the old lift span.

The entire new bridge cost $75 million, which was a lot of money back then, and the objective was to finance the bridge with road user charges rather than toll revenue bonds. From its opening in 1928 until 1975, when it became toll-free, the James River Bridge was a toll facility. During that time, most state DOTs were facing funding constraints. It was erected in stages for these reasons.

From 1975 to 1982, the new four-lane bridge was built in stages:

  1. Construct four miles of new two-lane trestle with temporary bridges connecting to the current lift span. Transfer the 2-lane 2-way traffic to this combined facility. Built 1972-1975. Advantage: Nearly 90% of the building is a contemporary 30-foot-wide structure.
  2. Finish the new westbound 2-lane 2-way road by building a new 0.5-mile 4-lane lift span and high-level approaches as a single unit. At this time, the eastern roadway and its high-level approaches on the lift bridge remain inoperable. Built 1977-1980. Advantage: A new 30-foot-wide structure houses a full 2-lane facility. When closed, the modern lift span offers 10 feet more vertical navigational clearance and requires significantly less maintenance than the previous one.
  3. Build a 4-mile parallel 2-lane trestle connecting the new lift span and high-level approaches to the eastbound route. The 4-lane complex is now complete, and 4-lane divided traffic operations commence. Built 1980-1982. Benefit: A contemporary 4-lane split facility is fully functioning.
  4. Remove a 4-mile-long, lift-spanning, outdated bridge.

The parapets on the eastbound bridge, which I am driving on, have the more modern Jersey barrier profile, whilst the parapets on the westbound bridge have an older form with a vertical face, barrier curb, and metal handrail. The 8-year gap between building start dates indicates the shift in parapet design requirements. The eastbound and westbound trestles are entirely distinct structures.

The Virginia Department of Transportation captured this aerial image of the lift span facing north in 1982, not long after the entire new bridge project was finished. The new four-lane bridge is complete and open to traffic, but the old lift span has yet to be removed.

It’s also a fascinating trip at night. The James River Bridge has continuous lighting, and the row of lights travelling west extends almost to a point in the distant distance. Looking east, you can see Newport News’ well-lit industrial regions.

The Newport News Shipbuilding complex can be seen to the right about 1/2 mile south of the James River Bridge, day or night. The largest gantry is located over the drydock, which has been producing Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers continuously since the mid-1970s.

The existing bridge’s description (James River Bridge)

Traffic approaches the bridge via a six-ramp partial cloverleaf intersection on Mercury Boulevard in Newport News. The four-lane divided bridge begins at an intersection with River Road and the entrance to Huntington Park, to the southeast of the piece of the original bridge that survives as a fishing pier. The 126.5 m lift span across the shipping channel, with a clearance of 44.1 m when raised and 18.2 m when depressed, is almost one-quarter of the way along the 7.0714 km bridge. This allows ocean-going ships to pass through on their way to civilian port facilities in Hopewell and Richmond.

On the Isle of Wight County side, the road becomes Carrollton Boulevard; after a few intersections, US 258 and SR 32 head west at Bartlett towards State Route 10 near Benns Church, while US 17 turns southeast towards Portsmouth.

The Jamestown Ferry is the closest upstream crossing of the James River, and the next fixed bridge is the 1966 Benjamin Harrison Bridge in Hopewell. The Mayo Bridge in Richmond, which built in 1913, was the next bridge upstream when the bridge opened in 1928.

The Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel in 1992 and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in 1957 are both bridge tunnels built for military purposes downstream.

Bicycles, mopeds, and pedestrians are prohibited from using the bridge; the Jamestown Ferry, about 25 miles upstream, is the closest crossing for them. The State Highway and Transportation Commission forbade these modes of transportation from utilising the bridge in 1978 ‘in the interest of safety’ due to heavy traffic and a lack of sidewalks. When the replacement bridge was finished, they revisited the issue in 1983 and decided to keep the prohibition in place because the new bridge still lacked pavements and an adequate recuperation area.

“The James River Bridge in Newport News. The longest waterborne bridge in the entire globe It measures almost five miles long. November 17, 1928, saw its debut.

The old James River Bridge can be seen in a 1948 photograph at the James River crossing. Excerpt Peninsula business owners raised private funding for the 4.8-mile bridge connecting the counties of Warwick and Isle of Wight. The $5.2 million span was inaugurated on November 17, 1928, with a full day of celebrations, by the cutting of a ribbon and the pressing of a button. The button was in Washington, not Newport News, where President Calvin Coolidge pressed it while standing in the Oval Office to send an electric signal to drop the raised lift span over the James River into place.

Miss Martha Woodroof Hiden, known as Miss Virginia during the event on the northern coast, cut the ribbon across the two-lane highway using an oversized pair of scissors. Eight thousand people turned out to watch. The state took over the James River Bridge during WWII and replaced it with a bigger span in the 1980s. For more than 70 years, it, along with commercial radio, has brought both sides of Hampton Roads closer together.

The longest bridge over water in history (James River Bridge History)

The General Assembly authorised the privately owned James River Bridge Corporation to construct a network of bridges over the James River, Chuckatuck Creek, and Nansemond River as well as access roads. The bridge simply came to a stop at a State Route 39/U.S. Route 60 interchange on the Newport News end.

On the Isle of Wight County side, a significant network of approach roads—including two smaller toll bridges—was constructed. near Bartlett, the exiting traffic had a Y intersection where it could go either southeast into Nansemond County or west over a private approach road via Carrollton to State Route 10 near Benns Church.

The first of the two smaller bridges was the Crittenden Bridge over Chuckatuck Creek at Crittenden, and the second was the Nansemond River Bridge over the Nansemond River after crossing the route to Hobson and Chuckatuck. The private approach road ended at the modern crossroads of Bennetts Pasture Road (State Route 627) and Lee Farm Lane (State Route 701), from where one could travel south to Driver on State Route 10 (now State Route 337).

As a result, the James River Bridge System managed traffic along State Route 10 in addition to traffic crossing the James River. For this traffic, the 1928 Chuckatuck-Driver was used. Kings Highway Bridge (now State Route 125) competed with the James River Bridge System.

The $5,2,000,000 The upraised lift span over the James River channel was lowered into place on November 17, 1928, thanks to the push of a button in Washington, D.C., where U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was seated in the Oval Office of the White House. Now, motorists have the option of using a fixed bridge to cross Hampton Roads rather than one of the numerous ferries.

With a 20-foot highway from curb to curb and rails that were much thinner than those seen on modern buildings, the new bridge was little by today’s standards. The other two bridges had 110-foot bascule spans, and the main lift span measured 300 feet in length. It was the longest bridge over water in the world when it was finished.

State Route 503, a state route connecting Portsmouth with the private approach road south of the Nansemond River via Churchland and Belleville, was added to the state highway network between 1928 and 1931. By 1932, U.S. Route 17 had been relocated to this alignment, which it continues to follow today. By the end of 1943, State Route 258 had been extended over the Benns Church approach and bridge to connect with the brand-new Mercury Boulevard. As a result, at the time of the state takeover in 1949, every approach had a number.

State Route 32 was extended from Suffolk to Newport News over the bridge in 1951, totally overlapping with other routes, “to facilitate traffic routing over the James River Bridge System, between locations in Newport News and those near Suffolk.


The James River Bridge’s length.

The first link between the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads was established in 1928 when the 4.5-mile James River Bridge, the longest state-maintained bridge in Virginia, opened.

The first James River Bridge was constructed when?

Beginning of James River Drawbridge construction

Which nation is the James River Bridge located in?

The James River Bridge spans the James River in the Commonwealth of Virginia with four lanes of split highway. The Virginia Department of Transportation owns and operates it, which spans the river close to Hampton Roads’ mouth while carrying State Route 32, US Route 17 and US Route 258.

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