Ocean View Overpass closure cause for concern for neighborhood

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jul 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:00:13-04

Norfolk, Va. - A bridge closure in Norfolk is causing some concern for Ocean View residents.

On July 5, officials are shutting down the West Ocean View Overpass due to safety issues. The overpass connects Willoughby to Ocean View Avenue.

“During our recent inspection, we found there were some structural issues on the roadway surface that required some immediate attention to minimize the traffic flow,” the city’s Director of Public Works, David Ricks, said.

People say this bridge is extremely busy, especially during rush hour.

They say the city’s new traffic pattern will cause nothing but chaos in their neighborhood.

“It’s already a lot of horn honking and screaming,” resident Tina Harmon said. “It’s gonna be an accident.”

People living off of Mason Creek Road in Ocean View expect those problems to get worse.

Ricks says early on they put up barriers but people started moving them.

Once the bridge closes, drivers will be redirected to Tidewater Drive then have to make a sharp left turn onto Mason Creek.

“I think a lot of people are gonna be ignoring the posted speed signs,” Erin Spears, who lives on Mason Creek, said.  “There is no room to accommodate these people.”

The city is well aware that closing this bridge could affect traffic in other areas but Ricks says it could be closed for up to two years. However, he says the city is looking at ways to get it open much sooner.

They are working to get the bridge open under restricted conditions.

Constructed in the 1950s, the bridge doesn’t pose any imminent danger but Ricks says it is growing.

“If we did not pay attention to those serious issues that basically you could have a serious roadway collapse issue,” Ricks explained.

No word yet on when construction will start.

To help ease congestion, the city has placed “local traffic only” signs in certain areas.

The city will hold a public meeting in a few weeks to further discuss the bridge closure.