To get the lowdown on the decade-long journey to replace the Lesner, one of the true gateways to Virginia Beach, check out my feature article in Coastal Virginia Magazine called "A Bridge to Somewhere."
The article not only details the money woes and design controversies surrounding this project, it takes a look at the state of other coastal connections in Hampton Roads.
Driving along Shore Drive on the Lesner Bridge, a visitor can take in the fishing boats on the glimmering water and the seafood restaurants dotting the shore and never suspect that this, one of Virginia Beach’s signature gateways, is deteriorating.
The John A. Lesner Bridge, a much-traveled Route 60 expansion that crosses Lynnhaven Inlet at the intersection of the Chesapeake and Lynnhaven bays, is corroding away. And the rot can’t be stopped. “There’s a chloride attack on the reinforcement,” says Chris Wojtowicz, project manager at the Department of Public Works in Virginia Beach. “It’s corroding the metal from inside the reinforced concrete, from the inside out.”
Since 1988, inspectors have been finding cracks and saltwater damage in the Lesner, which is actually two bridges, serving approximately 41,000 vehicles a day traveling east- and westbound. (That figure, the city’s official number, comes from a 2008 study and is probably higher.) Attempts have been made to repair the rupturing, often at great expense. “Structurally it’s a sound bridge,” Wojtowicz says. “But it requires a lot of maintenance and the amount of maintenance per year is accelerating.”
Grab the July issue of CV -- on newsstands now -- or read the article online by clicking right here.