Beginning today, boaters who had relied on an opening of the Gwynn’s Island bridge in order to navigate their way through Milford Haven will have to find another route around, as VDOT has suspended openings until completion of a maintenance project that is expected to continue through early April 2023.
Work on the movable bridge on Route 223 between the island and mainland Mathews County will also affect vehicular traffic. For vehicle traffic, temporary traffic signals will be installed at each bridge approach on Old Ferry Road next week. Motorists will be directed to cross the bridge in a one-way, alternating pattern during construction.
The bridge’s navigational clearance is 11 feet vertically and 80 feet horizontally when closed. Watercraft that can navigate underneath the bridge within this clearance may continue to travel through this area at most times.
A $10.7 million maintenance project has mobilized at the bridge to improve the mechanical and electrical elements that operate the bridge’s movable swing span. The project will also make spot structural steel repairs and replace the bridge tender house.
Built in 1938, the bridge over Milford Haven opens approximately 3,000 times a year, which is more than any other state-maintained movable bridge in Virginia.
Due to the condition of the bridge, openings for marine traffic have been limited since June 2021 to six scheduled times a day.
The upcoming maintenance project will restore the ability of the bridge to open on demand for marine traffic.
Over two evenings during fall 2022, the bridge will be closed to all Route 223 vehicle traffic between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Emergency service providers will be pre-staged on Gwynn’s Island to respond to any urgent needs during the bridge closure. Specific dates for the closure will be announced in advance this fall, once work is underway and a detailed project schedule is available. The closure dates will be communicated on message boards placed near the bridge approaches, as well as through news releases, the project page on VirginiaDOT.org, and through social media channels.
All work on this project is anticipated to be complete by April 5, 2023.