High Rise Bridge

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High Rise Bridge
Coordinates36°45′30″N 76°17′52″W / 36.7582°N 76.2977°W / 36.7582; -76.2977Coordinates: 36°45′30″N 76°17′52″W / 36.7582°N 76.2977°W / 36.7582; -76.2977
Carries I-64
CrossesSouthern Branch Elizabeth River
Construction start1969
Opened1972 (1972)
Daily traffic73,000[1]

The High Rise Bridge is a four-lane, bascule drawbridge that Interstate 64 (I-64) uses to cross the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The twin spans of concrete and steel were completed in 1972, and are operated by VDOT. Currently, the High Rise Bridge is the only highway-grade toll-free crossing of the Southern Branch Elizabeth River, since the Downtown and Midtown Tunnel began tolling in 2014. Other non-interstate alternate routes include the Gilmerton Bridge on U.S. Route 13 (US 13; Military Highway), as well as the tolled Jordan Bridge in Portsmouth.

Because of the high impact a bridge opening has on traffic, the bridge only opens on a 24-hour advanced notice unless the scheduled lift time is during the bridge's restricted hours of 6-9am and 3-6pm, when a three-day notice is required.


On Wednesday November 10, 2010 after the 2:30 opening the bridge was stuck in the up position causing widespread traffic delays. It was later attributed to an electrical outage during a lift at 2:30 p.m.. That failure caused a malfunction in the bridge's lift mechanism which caused the bridge to not close completely. Engineers had to manually lower the span back together, and reopened the bridge some three and a half hours later, at 6:00 pm.[2]

In 2016, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a $2.3 billion project that would eventually widen the corridor of I-64 that includes the bridge to eight lanes, and would replace the drawbridge with a 135 feet (41 m) fixed span bridge as part of the I-64 Southside Widening Project. As of October 2016, the plan is in Phase I, which would improve the corridor six lanes and build the new four lane Outer Loop bridge, which carries I-64 towards Chesapeake/Norfolk. The project is currently in Design–build status, and a contract should be awarded by August 2017.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "High Rise Bridge (I-64)". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Chesapeake High-Rise Bridge reopened to traffic". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  3. ^ "I-64 Southside & High Rise Bridge Phased Construction".