George P Coleman Memorial Bridge
US Highway 17 (George Washington Memorial Highway), Yorktown, VA, USA
George P Coleman Memorial Bridge Yorktown Reviews
Largest double-swing-span bridge in the USA May 11, 2015
The George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, known more commonly as simply the Coleman Bridge, crosses the York River connecting Yorktown and Gloucester Point in Virginia, USA. It replaced a ferry system that was used here for almost 200 years, until this 3,750 foot long, 2-lane bridge was built in 1952 for a cost of about $9 million. It was a double-swing-span bridge to make clearance for river ship traffic. It is named after George Preston Coleman (1870-1948), a native Virginian, former Mayor of Williamsburg and Virginia's highway commissioner from 1913 to 1922.
The bridge was later widened and reconstructed in 1995 for a cost of about $70 million. The main reasons for the replacement was to accommodate more traffic by making it a 4-lane bridge and also because it is a swing-span bridge and the machinery that rotated the spans had become unreliable. The new bridge was prefabricated in six sections, complete with pavement, lightpoles and barriers, barged to its location from Norfolk 40 miles away and set in place in under two weeks - quite remarkable! It marked the first time in engineering history that such an enormous bridge was assembled off site and floated into place.
Apparently it is only one of two double-swing-span bridges in the world and the only one in the United States. The main span has 450 feet of horizontal navigational clearance, and 60 feet of vertical navigational clearance when the movable spans are closed. When the movable spans are opened, there is unlimited vertical navigational clearance. The York River has a natural depth of over 60 feet where the bridge's movable spans are. The movable span is needed to allow ship access to several military installations that are upstream of the bridge. The roadways are almost 90 feet above the river at the highest point of the bridge, affording some nice views while crossing.
Toll is $1/axle ($2 for a car) going from Yorktown to Gloucester, but free going from Gloucester to Yorktown.
The new bridge weighs only 25 percent more than the original because the new spans are made of lightweight, high-strength steel.
The new bridge is three times wider than the original bridge and has four lanes and 3-meter safety shoulders.
The two main river piers contain mechanisms that lift the swing spans to different elevations so they don't hit each other when they rotate.
Here's how this bridge stacks up against some of the longest-spanning bridges in the world. (total length, in feet) - Akayashi Kaikyo (12, 828 ft.); Golden Gate (8,981 ft.); Brooklyn (3,460 ft.); Coleman (3,750 ft.)
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The Coleman Bridge Across the York River Sep 22, 2009
The George P. Coleman Bridge is a highway bridge spanning the York River between Yorktown and Gloucester Point, Virginia. The 3750 foot (1140 m) bridge carries US Highway 17, connecting the Tidewater region with the Northern Neck. Built in 1952 as a two-lane bridge it was widened to four lanes in 1995 to accommodate increasing commercial and commuter traffic.
A unique feature of the Coleman Bridge is that it is a swing bridge rather than a drawbridge. The center spans pivot out to allow ship traffic to pass. It is the only double swing span bridge in the United States.
For travelers, the Coleman Bridge provides access from the Willliamsburg Historic Triangle and Hampton Roads region to Gloucester and points along the Northern Neck, including picturesque Tappahannock, Virginia. In addition, US Highway 17 provides an alternative and scenic route to the north. When we visit Williamsburg, we often take US 17 across the bridge and then all the way to Fredericksburg to meet northbound Interstate Highway 95. (We bypass Richmond and congested portions of I-95 and have an enjoyable scenic drive too.)
Toll for the bridge is $2.00, collected only northbound.
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