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Bid farewell to the old Huguenot Bridge on Sunday

From VDOT press release:

After the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) shifts traffic from the existing Huguenot Memorial Bridge to the first half of the new bridge on Saturday, the public will have the opportunity to walk, bike or picnic on the old bridge Sunday, July 1 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. without disruption from vehicles. Crews will begin demolition of the 62-year-old bridge the following week to make way for the remaining half of the new bridge.

“It’s not easy to say goodbye to something that has been a critical part of the Richmond community since 1950,” said Ray Johnston, project manager. “We’re hoping people will take advantage of this occasion to enjoy a leisurely day on the old bridge before its gone forever.”

During the event, Huguenot Road traffic will continue to use the new bridge to cross the river. In order to safely access the old bridge, event participants will enter by foot or bike via the closed ramp from Riverside Drive on the south end of the bridge. Parking will be available along Riverside Drive. From Huguenot Road, drivers are encouraged to take Old Spring Road, turn right on Southampton Road to reach Riverside Drive (map). Richmond Police will monitor parking. Due to the traffic configuration just north of the bridge, VDOT does not advise participants to use the north approach for parking or access to the event.

Ice chests and folding chairs will be permitted on the bridge. Glass containers and alcohol will not be permitted. To keep the bridge and James River free of litter, the City of Richmond’s Clean City Commission and Department of Public Works will place trash and recycle bins along the bridge.

Contractor, Skanska Inc., will begin bridge demolition in the days following this event. To ensure the James River is not adversely impacted by the demolition, the old bridge will be taken apart in sections. Much of the demolition will be done from the existing bridge. The temporary causeway will be moved to under the existing bridge to aid in the demolition

VDOT expects the second half of the new bridge to be completed and open to all travelers in summer 2013 with final project completion in October 2013. Once complete, the new structure will have one 12-foot travel lane and one 10-foot shoulder in each direction. The wider shoulder will function as both an emergency breakdown lane and an area for cyclists to safely use the bridge. In addition, there will be a 5-foot wide sidewalk on each side for pedestrians.

Efforts to build a new bridge to replace the aging Huguenot Memorial Bridge began in October 2010. The Huguenot Bridge spans the James River and connects the city of Richmond to the south and Henrico County to the north via Huguenot Road. Approximately 25,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day.

To find out more about the Huguenot Bridge reconstruction project or to sign up for project updates, visit www.huguenotbridge.org.

NOTE: Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtag #hugmebridge to categorize conversations about this event.