Ribbon-Cutting Marks Official Opening of the New Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach
In a historic moment for the City of Virginia Beach, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on December 14, 2018 for the Lesner Bridge, marking it officially open to the public. The ceremony was accompanied by remarks from City of Virginia Beach Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer, Vice Mayor Jim Wood, Deputy City Manager Tom Leahy, and Councilmember Louis Jones. Clark Nexsen’s Transportation practice engineers worked with the city and fellow consultants, including FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc., and McLean Contracting Company, on the new bridge.
“The city and surrounding community are extremely happy with the outcome,” states Clark Nexsen Principal, Danny Taylor. “This bridge has impressive views and boaters now have an over 80% wider navigation channel to cross under and an additional 10 feet of vertical clearance.”
A signature structure in Hampton Roads, the Lesner Bridge is a heavily trafficked link in the city’s infrastructure, and an important visual and interactive arm to the community. Originally erected in 1958, the bridge was nearing the end of its useable lifespan, prompting the city to begin replacement efforts. Public involvement was significant to ensure that the structure would reflect the natural beauty of the Lynnhaven Inlet area.
The result is twin 1,575-foot-long bridges, each with two lanes of traffic and shoulders along each side to ensure safer, less stressful crossing. There is also a 10-foot wide path designated for pedestrians and bicycles, which is separated from vehicular traffic by a concrete barrier wall. The project features modifications to roadway approaches and upgrades to adjacent intersections, along with significant aesthetic improvements such as decorative railings and a viewing overlook. Adding a vibrant aesthetic touch, the columns and side exterior of the structure feature color changing LED lights.
Photograph: Glenn Beshaw