The Centerville Turnpike Bridge juts finished a major resconstruction in February 2020. Photo: Chesapeake Roads

Va. Drawbridge Stuck Open after Barge Strike

A barge traveling the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake, Va. struck the Centerville Turnpike Bridge early Saturday morning, damaging the bridge and shutting down traffic. And it could be months before it’s usable again.

The U.S. Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic is investigating the crash, which happened at 4:46 a.m. while the bridge was open. The Coast Guard released a safety marine broadcast to alert boaters and closing off a 100-foot safety zone around the bridge. Chesapeake Police and the Coast Guard stayed on scene.

According to Chesapeake Roads, the bridge became stuck in the open position because of damage suffered in the strike. In an update Monday, the agency says, “Currently, there is no timeline for how long the bridge will be closed to traffic but preliminary estimates indicate it is likely to be closed for months.”

The Centerville Turnpike Bridge underwent a major reconstruction project that just wrapped up in February 2020. It is a major thoroughfare than connects Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and carries about 16,000 vehicles a day, according to the City of Chesapeake. The bridge crosses the ICW, carrying boaters up and down the inland waters of the East Coast.

Coast Guard marine investigating units and inspectors are still investigating what caused the barge to strike the bridge. They’re asking for anyone with information that could help with the investigation to call the Sector Virginia Command Center at (757) 483-8567.

Engineers and inspectors are still conducting a damage assessment to determine the scope and extent of damage to the bridge infrastructure.

-Meg Walburn Viviano