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Is the Mayo Bridge Endangered?

According to Style Weekly, the Mayo Bridge is one of The Nine Most Endangered Places in Richmond. While we won’t comment on the other eight, it’s difficult to argue that something doesn’t need to be done with the bridge to calm traffic and make it more safe for pedestrian and bicycle use. Here’s what Style Weekly has to say on the matter:

“The Mayo Bridge

When visitors flock to such sublime cities as London, Prague and Rome, among the most wildly popular attractions are the bridges. They offer panoramic views, link ancient neighborhoods and are beautiful objects in themselves.

Richmond’s Mayo Bridge, which would look at home if it crossed the Seine, links Shockoe Slip with Manchester. It’s the city’s oldest bridge — our own Ponte Vecchio, if you will — built in 1910 as a practical and symbolic gesture when Richmond and Manchester merged into a single municipality. The 40 Egyptian obelisks that line the bridge’s sidewalks, each cast in concrete and once wired to power electric lights and street cars, are ridiculous and amazing.

But while the 105-year-old span is aging and a potential challenge to restore, its human scale is its greatest asset as a pedestrian link — not a disconnect — between the old and re-emerging neighborhoods on the north and south sides of the James River, with Mayo Island in the middle. This gentler scale also serves as a built-in traffic-calming device for vehicles passing through Shockoe Slip and into increasingly residential Manchester.

While city, state and federal officials envision a replacement bridge, a discussion that’s continued for many years, they fortunately propose a structure that would replicate the height, scale and appearance of the existing span while adding a bicycle lane and providing better access to the James River. But the option is also on the table of continuing to patch the old bridge.”

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