Gilmerton Lift Bridge

Engineering Feat Creates Excitement and Spectacle in Chesapeake, VA

Chesapeake, VA

PCL Civil Constructors, Inc.

$6.7 M


Branch Civil supported General Contractor PCL Civil Construction, Inc. in the Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Project, which involved the construction of a vertical lift span over the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, VA.  The new lift bridge replaced a bascule drawbridge that was built in 1938.

Branch Civil provided roadway improvements in the early phases of the project, including the rebuilding and widening of the bridge approaches, as well as drainage and utility upgrades.

The old bridge caused back-ups of commercial marine, naval and road traffic since its closed position clearance was just 11 feet.  This meant the bridge had to open for more sizes of boats, and the frequent openings meant more delays for motorists.  The new bridge has a closed position of 35 feet and an open position of 135 feet when the single span rises vertically, remaining parallel to the bridge deck.

Crews encountered plenty of dramatic moments during the project, including performing an all-night demolition of the old bridge so that the new span, which was spectacularly floated down the Elizabeth River to its new home, could be erected in a matter of just 24 hours.

This extraordinarily complex project was a true collaboration among PCL, its subcontractors, city and state leaders, and the US Coast Guard.  It was completed without any major incidents or injuries.

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