May 15, 2024 - News

State wants Richmonders to weigh in on a new Mayo Bridge

a bridge with Richmond's skyline in the back

This version of The Mayo Bridge was built in 1913. Image: Courtesy of VDOT

Richmond's oldest bridge will soon be replaced, and officials want locals weigh in as they plan the new one.

Why it matters: The Mayo Bridge, sometimes called the 14th Street Bridge, is one of around 3.5% of Virginia bridges rated as in poor condition and in need of upgrades.

State of play: Initial plans called for only part of the 111-year-old bridge to be replaced, but further structural review indicated it wouldn't be cost-effective to keep the existing arched piers, per VDOT.

Zoom in: VDOT launched a survey last week asking locals to share their priorities for a new bridge as part of the design phase of the yearslong project.

  • Locals are invited to weigh in on how much they use the bridge, pedestrian and bicycle safety, traffic concerns, access to trails and transit, ability to continue to fish from it and architectural significance, among other factors.
  • They survey asks respondents how long they'd be willing to tolerate a detour while the bridge is unavailable for construction. The bridge connects Manchester to Shockoe Slip.

Worth noting: The cost to repair the bridge was around $20 million, but a full replacement will run $80 million, WTVR reported in 2022.

  • A full replacement should make the Mayo Bridge last longer, but could mean no bridge and therefore river crossing there for two years.

Flash wayyyyy back: Mayo Bridge was originally built around 1788 by John Mayo Jr., the grandson of the Mayo who laid out Richmond's street grid. Since then, it has been destroyed and rebuilt roughly eight times, according to a post from the Richmond Tour Guys.

  • Flooding was the most common natural disaster the destroying the bridge, but ice, snow and one Civil War fire also had a run at it.
  • By the year destroyed: 1814 (ice), 1816 (flood), 1823 (flood), 1865 (Confederate army lit fire), 1870 (The Great Virginia Flood of 1870), 1877 (normal flood), 1882 (unclear, collapse or possible flood) and 1899 (blizzard).

What's next: The VDOT survey is open until June 9. In the fall, it will host public engagement session where concept drawings will be unveiled.

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