Construction on new Lesner Bridge delayed until May

Posted at 7:15 PM, Feb 07, 2014

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – Construction on the Lesner Bridge replacement has been delayed thanks to a nearly $20 million dollar bidding mistake.

The project to replace the aging structure over the Lynnhaven Inlet on Shore Drive was slated to begin in March. That’s now been pushed back to May according to city records.

The problem with the bid was first noticed when they were unsealed in late-December.

Virginia Beach City officials confirm to NewsChannel 3 that the lowest bid came in just under $59 million. That was nearly $20 million less than the second-lowest bid – not a savings to the city but rather a problem with the bidder’s numbers.

City officials had estimated the cost of construction for the Lesner project to be $70.5 million.

The bids were opened on Friday, December 20 and on Monday, December 23 the low bidder emailed the city asking to withdraw their bid.

That’s when the city began talking to the second-lowest bidder to inform them of the situation, according to a letter sent to City Council on December 27, 2013.

Replacing the Lesner Bridge has long been a priority for the city.

The existing spans were built in 1958 and 1967 and years of exposure to the salty environment has corroded steel on the bridge.

The city says that corrosion can only be slowed and not stopped.

Construction is expected to be done in phases which will keep traffic flowing across the Lynnhaven Inlet during the project.

A new Lesner Bridge is welcome news to locals like Roy Montefalcon

“We are really happy that they will change this - change the bridge and the structures - we are looking forward to it,” he said as he stood next to the old Lesner Friday afternoon.

Construction on the replacement bridge is expected to take three years to complete.