MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Mathews County is expected to experience vehicle and marine traffic delays as construction begins on a movable bridge on Route 223 in late August, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The movable bridge in the Route 223 area, which runs over Milford Haven between Gwynn’s Island and mainland Mathews County, will be undergoing scheduled maintenance from late August to March, VDOT said. Suspension of the bridge will start on Friday, Aug. 19, at approximately 9 a.m. The project is anticipated to be completed by April 5, 2023.

During maintenance, the bridge will not be open for most boats. According to VDOT, watercraft that are able to navigate with a clearance of 11 feet vertically and 80 feet horizontally will still be able to travel through the area during most of the construction time.

For vehicles, temporary traffic signals will be installed at each bridge approach in late August. VDOT said drivers will be able to cross the bridge in a one-way, alternating pattern.

The bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic coming from Route 223 twice in fall 2022. The exact dates of these closures is yet to be determined, but the dates will be announced in advance on message boards placed near the bridge approaches, through news releases, the project page on VirginiaDOT.org and on social media.

During these closures, emergency service providers will be pre-staged on Gwynn’s Island to respond to any urgent needs, according to VDOT’s release.

The $10.7 million maintenance project is intended to improve the bridge and keep up with marine traffic demand. The bridge currently opens approximately 3,000 times a year — more than any other state-maintained movable bridge in the commonwealth. Due to the age and condition of the bridge, openings for marine traffic are currently limited to only six times a day.

The project will improve the mechanical and electrical elements of the bridge and make structural steel repairs that will allow the bridge to be open more often.