Story by Vince Little on 08/09/2019Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has mapped out plans to replace the aging Deep Creek Bridge in Chesapeake, alongside its state and city partners.
Built in 1934, Deep Creek Bridge is a federally owned and operated two-lane bridge that crosses the Dismal Swamp Canal and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at U.S. Route 17 Business in Chesapeake's Deep Creek section. The single-leaf drawbridge is considered functionally obsolete because of increasing traffic, a very narrow roadway and poor alignment with connecting roads.
The old two-lane bridge will be replaced by a structurally sound 144-foot-long, 60-foot-wide, five-lane, dual-leaf drawbridge. The project, which is fully designed, includes approaching roadway improvements.
Corps officials said real-estate challenges remain but a contract should be advertised for solicitation in January, with a construction award scheduled sometime next spring. The project cost is estimated at approximately $50 million.
"We planned to advertise the project this past June but we've experienced delays in real-estate acquisition," said Walt Trinkala, Norfolk District project manager. "We have 19 landowners who need some form of easement, right of way or purchase that the team has been working through the last two years. We are working with each of the property owners and their lawyers in a cooperative manner.
The District anticipates advertising the bridge contract in January, but that's contingent on getting all the real-estate work done before December.
"Our local team has been actively calling, meeting with, and going to homes to provide required information and inform each property owner on details of the process, project, impacts to them and our legal limitations on how much we can pay for a property," said Stacey Nolan, a Norfolk District realty specialist. "It's never less than fair-market value and may include damages, depending on the impact, but it's always based on an appraisal."
She said USACE signed a utility relocation agreement with Dominion Energy last month and expects to finalize the same with Verizon, Cox and Columbia Gas of Virginia in the near future.
"Replacing the bridge will improve traffic flow and meet Virginia Department of Transportation and city of Chesapeake requirements," Trinkala said.
Norfolk District signed a contributed-funds agreement with the city to pay for the new bridge. Officials said Chesapeake will advance $20 million to USACE to expedite construction. The Virginia Department of Transportation will then reimburse the city in future years as the project progresses.
USACE's construction cost portion includes $12 million and $10 million from its fiscal year 2017 and 2016 budgets, respectively.
"We are currently very close on funding available to complete the project, so we are working through our estimating and budget processes to account for any escalation in bridge costs since our last review," said Richard Klein, chief of the district's Programs and Civil Works Branch.
The Army Corps of Engineers, VDOT and city of Chesapeake are hosting a joint Industry Day for the Deep Creek Bridge Replacement Project on Aug. 29. It's scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon in VDOT's Hampton Roads District Office at 7511 Burbage Drive in Suffolk.
The special event is aimed at promoting interest within the small business community and familiarizing companies with project requirements so they can potentially qualify as subcontractors.
Industry Day is open to companies and firms of all sizes and certifications interested in the project, said Cherie Kunze, Norfolk District's deputy for Small Business Programs and a lead organizer. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 757-201-7077.
Visit www.nao.usace.army.mil/About/Projects/AIWW-Deep-Creek-Bridge/ to learn more about the Deep Creek Bridge Replacement Project.