RICHMOND, VA (September 15, 2015) —After two years of public engagement, planning and environmental permitting, the much loved Brown’s Island Dam Walk is on track to reopen to pedestrians. The new T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge will provide an access point to one of the most beautiful sections of the James River and the first bicycle and pedestrian-only crossing of the river.
Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. will start construction this fall, and is expected to finish the bridge by August 2016. Once complete, the pedestrian walkway will infuse a new energy into the entire riverfront area.
“The work to connect the north bank of the James River to the south has been a long-time coming,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “I’m so pleased to have been a part of the push for progress on the Richmond Riverfront Plan.”
“This month’s groundbreaking will mark the culmination of nearly a decade of planning and visioning by the City of Richmond and Shockey is excited to get underway on the project,” says Jeff Boehm, President of Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.
Previously known as the Brown’s Island Dam Walk, the new T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge will transform sections of old dam infrastructure into a new pedestrian and bicycle walk path. The new structure will utilize as much of the existing, historic structure as possible and will be supplemented with new decking, decorative railings, and structural provisions to improve safety. Work on the South Bank will connect to the Floodwall Walk, Manchester neighborhood, and the climbing wall.
The total length of the bridge is 1,600 linear feet, approximately one-third of a mile. The completed work will provide a safe deck on which users can walk, run, ride a bike, push strollers, and even travel in a wheelchair across the river.
Among the planned improvements to the existing structure is an expansion of the “Three Days in April” overlook, which memorializes a significant point in Richmond’s history when- during three days in April 1865 – the city fell to the Union Army after four years of civil war. In addition, three new overlooks with interpretive content will be added to the bridge as part of the redevelopment project.
In June 2015, Shockey was awarded the contract to serve as construction manager at risk for the project. In this role, Shockey is responsible for implementation of the contract including daily oversight of all construction activities and subcontractor management. Earlier, the City of Richmond tapped AECOM to manage comprehensive redevelopment efforts. The landscape firm of Hargreaves Associates rounds out the team of professionals tasked with the design of the project.
“The Richmond Riverfront redevelopment is an especially rewarding project for our team. We believe it is a transformative project that will positively impact the city and all its residents,” says Jennifer Macks, VP at Shockey.
“The bridge will be a defining recreational landmark within the revitalized riverfront area,” said Macks, who noted there are several challenges that could impact the construction schedule, most notably the moratorium on working in the James River from mid-February to the end of June. A series of precautions will be implemented to protect the river and associated wildlife during construction.
The project also entails extensive replanting of the embankment area to encourage enhanced wildlife habitats. More than 1,000 native ferns, shrubs and trees will be planted as part of the project.
Shockey’s Richmond office is located at 1805 E. Grace Street in Richmond’s historic Shockoe Bottom area. Over the past 10 years, Shockey established its presence in the Richmond area with high-visibility projects such as GRTC’s award-winning headquarters on Belt Boulevard, the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School on Mosby Street, and a downtown data center upgrade for VCU.