Newport News closes Gwynn Circle Bridge for temporary study

Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-10 17:22:06-04

Newport News, Va. - Bright orange signs and barricades greet drivers coming down Gwynn Circle in Newport News, but that doesn't bother Rena Slugg and Deborah Keith.

They are elated about the decision by the city to close the Gwynn Circle Bridge over Lucas Creek for a 60-day temporary study.

"It's so quiet. So peaceful," Slugg says.

The traffic on their street has been a safety concern for years, with Gwynn Circle being a popular shortcut for drivers trying to get from Colony Road to Warwick Boulevard.

"You have a lot of speeders, foot traffic, crime caused from it," Slugg says.

But the real problem has been flooding caused by the bridge itself.

"They shortened the width of the creek, making it impossible for all the water to get through. So it backs up into the lowlands. Backs into all these houses," Slugg says.

That's something Keith had to learn about the hard way after her family started renovating their home.

"We are finding lots of mold. Sheetrock had to be cut out, replaced," she says. "I definitely don't want to get it all finished and then next month we have a flood."

So the city decided the best way to solve the drainage problem and the traffic problem was to get rid of the bridge altogether and let the creek flow freely.

But first, they want to know if anybody will miss it.

So far, the city says for every seven people they hear from in favor of removing the bridge, three are against it.

"Would you want your house flooded every year and have to start over again? Just think about that," Keith says.

The temporary closure started in August and will run through at least October.

The city will then decide if they want to make it permanent.