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Varina-Enon Bridge

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1990, Figg Engineering Group. I-295, spanning the James River at the Henrico-Chesterfield county boundary (east on VA 5, just past the Varina School area, take the southbound entrance onto I-295 [toward Rockhill/Raleigh, N.C.]; the bridge is within 2 miles)

One of the most exciting recent bridge designs in Virginia, this graceful, minimalist silhouette sympathetically gestures to the natural and historic surroundings. (Varina Plantation stands within a quarter of a mile east of the bridge, clearly visible from the northbound lane.) The Varina-Enon was a first-of-a-kind construction. The bridge is a combination of stayed-cable technology and precast delta-frame truss construction that rises about 275 feet and spans 4,680 feet. The delta frame spans were made at the site and moved into place over the pier substructure. Two thin central pylons support gracefully splayed cables. The relatively flat landscape makes the effect even more dramatic. Although the stayed-cable design is traditionally reserved for center spans in excess of 800 feet, here the cable-suspended center is 630 feet. The Varina-Enon Bridge proved the efficiency of suspension construction for shorter spans. It is the only vehicular suspension bridge in the state. (There are some cable suspension pedestrian bridges in the western part of the state.)

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Varina-Enon Bridge", [Chester, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 304-304.

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