A Span of Irony
Each of us can claim countless, wonderful childhood memories. For me, one of my favorite boyhood memories was our family transferring from Baltimore, Maryland to Virginia Beach in the late 1960s. I vividly recall arriving at Virginia Beach and being completely awestruck with the vibrant oceanfront and majestic Atlantic. And being mesmerized by the Cityís unique landmarks – the boardwalk, resort beach, steel pier, wooden pier and Rudee Inlet.
And then there was the amazing, scenic trek down Shore Drive and its Chesapeake Bayfront amenities including Fort Story, Cape Henry lighthouse, Seashore State Park (now First Landing State Park) and the distinctive rustic homes and businesses flanking Shore Drive.
But what really struck me was our first trek over the iconic Lesner Bridge and Lynnhaven Inlet ñ which connects the Chesapeake Bay and Lynnhaven River. I was absolutely captivated by the panoramic views from this bridge – the Lynnhaven River, Chesapeake Bay and even a glimpse of the Atlantic. Wow, as a mere ten-year old, the possibilities ñ boating, fishing, trapping, hunting, hiking, and swimming ñ were as endless as time. I felt like a kid in the candy store!
How ironic and humbling then, was it that some nearly 40 years later, our company was teamed with local engineering firm, Clark-Nexsen, and City of Virginia Beach on the environmental effort for the Cityís replacement of the aging, structurally deficient Lesner Bridge. As an environmental consultant, what a rare and unique opportunity to reconnect and revisit a project encountered as a youngster.
We were fortunate to have successfully shepherded the environmental process ñ from the environmental study in 2008, Environmental Assessment in 2010, to the procurement of Federal, State and local permits in 2013 ñ which led to project construction startup in July 2014. Whatís more, our company has been engaged in the construction, from actively photographing and video monitoring the bridge construction, including the new westbound span scheduled to open this fall.
Looking back on the past half century, I am amazed at the irony and good fortune of having been engaged on the Cityís first signature bridge. And built, no less, directly above the Lynnhaven Inlet ñ and with the same awesome views and childhood memories from a place visited nearly 50 years ago!