Bridges are something that we sometimes take for granted. Oftentimes, they just feel like a continuation of the road and we don’t stop to think about the incredible feats of engineering that went into making them. And when you think back to a time when rivers, streams, and even ocean inlets kept travelers from getting where they needed to go, it’s easy to realize just how important bridges really are. Especially in Virginia where waterways cut through almost every part of the state, it’s hard to imagine life without them. These 22 bridges in Virginia range from historic to modern, large to small, but they all offer a beauty and purpose that, at the end of the day, is pretty impressive.
1. Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Cape Charles, Virginia Beach
Known as one of the 7 Engineering Wonders of the World, the CBBT connects the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach near Norfolk. Stretching 23 miles, it is one of only ten bridge–tunnel systems in the world.
2. The Bowstring Arch Truss Bridge, Bedford County
Built in 1878, this iron bridge spans Roaring Run. After more than a century of traffic, it now serves a footbridge and is the oldest standing metal bridge in Virginia.
3. George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, Yorktown
This double swing bridge crosses the York River and connects Yorktown to Gloucester Point. Built in 1952, it is the only public crossing of the York River.
4. CSX A-Line Bridge over the James River, Richmond
The lines of this bridge are breathtaking. Built in 1919, it's a railway bridge for CSX Transportation and was designed to provide a quicker route around Richmond.
5. The "High" Bridge at High Bridge State Park, Farmville
This 125-foot high, 2,400-foot long bridge stretches over the Appomattox River and is the longest recreational bridge in Virginia, and one of the longest in the nation. It is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. The park has been recognized by USA Today as one of the Top 20 State Parks in the nation and I'm sure views like this didn't hurt the selection process.
6. Humpback Covered Bridge, Covington
Built in 1857, Humpback Bridge is Virginia's oldest covered bridge -- and one of the most iconic sites in the state. The bridge closed in 1929 but remains a walking bridge and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
7. The James River Bridge, Newport News
Spanning the James River, this 4-lane lift bridge is the easternmost crossing of its kind (without a tunnel) and connects Newport News to Isle of Wight County.
8. The Key Bridge, Arlington
This arched bridge connects Virginia at Rosslyn (Arlington) to Washington, D.C. Built in 1923, it is the oldest surviving bridge across the Potomac River in the DC area.
9. Sinking Creek Covered Bridge, Newport
Located in Giles County, the Sinking Creek Bridge was built c. 1916 . The 70-foot bridge has a tin roof and is now part of a public county-owned park. This bridge is one of three covered bridges in Giles County, which is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Virginia. The other 2 bridges are privately owned.
10. Link's Farm Covered Bridge, Giles County
One of three covered bridges in Giles County, this privately owned bridge is located on Link's Farm and is not open to the public -- but it's still lovely to see in photos! Built in 1912, the bridge is 49 feet long and provides a path over Sinking Creek.
11. Bridge on Bunch Walnuts Road, Chesapeake
This wooden arch bridge in Chesapeake is an absolute work of art. It may be small, but it makes a huge statement.
12. The Manchester Bridge, Richmond
The Manchester Bridge connects Manchester, "South of the River," to downtown Richmond and is one of the city's most iconic sites.
13. Valley Railroad Stone Bridge, Augusta County
Considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges in Virginia due to its exceptional masonry, the Valley Railroad bridge crosses Folly Mills Creek. It was built in 1884, as part of a project to connect rail lines from Staunton to Salem via Lexington. Although the bridge is no longer used, VDOT maintains it as a landmark.
14. Meems Bottom Covered Bridge, Mount Jackson
As Virginia's longest covered bridge, and one of the most well known, the Meems Bottom bridge stretches 204-feet across the Shenandoah River. Built in 1894, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
15. A Railway Bridge, Natural Bridge Station
This railway bridge is where the Norfolk Southern 'H' line crosses the CSX "James River Line." The intersection of these lines is simply stunning.
16. Robert O. Norris Bridge, Weems
Stretching over the Rappahannock, this beautifully shaped bridge is an extension of Route 3 between Lancaster and Middlesex Counties.
17. Jack's Creek Covered Bridge, Woolwine
Built in 1914 for the Jack's Creek Primitive Baptist Church, Jack's Creek Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of two remaining covered bridges in Patrick County. It's also the annual site of the Patrick County Covered Bridge Festival.
18. Swinging Bridge, Buchanan
Walkers only on this old wooden bridge. And tread lightly, it's on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
19. Twin River Bridges over the Dan River, Danville
20. Bob White Covered Bridge, Woolwine
Along with Jack's Creek Bridge, the Bob White Bridge is the one of two Patrick County covered bridges. Built in 1921, the bridge was named after the Bob White Post Office, which was, in turn, named for the local bobwhite quails.
21. Waterloo Bridge, Culpeper/Fauquier County Line
Recently closed and threatened with demolition, this beautiful, historic bridge was built in the 1880s and is a unique iron and steel Pratt through-truss design. Fortunately, enough people spoke up and VDOT is currently considering alternatives for its preservation.
22. And perhaps the most amazing bridge of all - Natural Bridge
Located in Rockbridge County, this bridge is a 215-foot arch, naturally carved out of limestone by Cedar Creek. The bridge was a sacred site to the Monacan Indian tribe for centuries before it was first discovered by Europeans in the 1700s. It has been called one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is both a a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
I’m sure we’ve left more than a few off the list – but these are definitely among our favorite bridges in Virginia. Tell us about your favorites in the comments below.