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30th Anniversary of the MLK Bridge

September 17th will mark 30 years of the over-sized 6-lane bridge.

At 2,151 feet long, 111 feet wide, and at one point 107 feet off of the ground, the six-lane Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Bridge is an imposing structure. Connecting Leigh Street on the west and and O Street @ Mosby on the east, the MLK Memorial Bridge replaced the “spidery” old Marshall Street Viaduct in 1976. The Marshall Street Viaduct had been erected in 1910-1911, had the trolley tracks removed in 1953, and was closed in July 1970.

Marshall Street Viaduct (date unknown)
Marshall Street Viaduct (1971)

Photo by Jack Boucher via Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record

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john
john
14 years ago

Some things that come to mind: I wonder what the effect was of moving the east connection from Marshall to O Street, if any. And for 6 years there wasn’t a bridge at all? and — the old viaduct is mentioned in this article about the train tunnel collapse.

bill
bill
14 years ago

MCV is cramped for space and wants to tear down Old West Hospital. The Mosby Court Housing Project should be torn down and an appropriate plan should be put in place to relocate those residents, preferably on the road to home ownership. That being said, MCV should build a new hospital where Mosby Court now stands. The MLK Bridge is big enough to handle the traffic of the new hospital and it is really close to MCV’s existing infrastructure. Perhaps a tram could be put in to connect the two facilities. This plan would help rejuvenate the area around Mosby… Read more »

james
james
14 years ago

I have thought the same for the longest time. The apartments that sit on the edge of the hill, are those RRHA or a private complex? They sit on some prime real estate, and they have an awesome view of the valley and of downtown.

citizen at large
citizen at large
14 years ago

Those pieces of property are owned by RRHA. The only problem with your idea is: there is still too much property that is section 8 and other RRHA around that area. I think your idea is still an idea until we can clean that up.

bill
bill
14 years ago

I think any idea will have its challenges. I dont think that the existence of low income housing in the area should be a deal stopper. I think the concept of building world class hospital where Mosby Court now stands might just change that neighborhood for the better. But I am just speculating.

Sleepless in the City
Sleepless in the City
14 years ago

The only people that feel like there is “too much Section 8 and low income housing” are the ones that don’t depend on it for their survival. I wish that someone would address the problems Richmonders are going to face as a result of demolishing housing projects as well as help MANY citizens of the City of Richmond that depend on low income housing and/or Section 8. Homeownership is a great prospect for SOME Richmonders. However, many citizens are not financially equipped to handle the ENORMOUS responsibilities that come with homeownership. This is not a realistic option. Retirees just can’t… Read more »

bill
bill
14 years ago

Sleepless makes some excellent points and it is true that one of Richmond’s key challenges is maintaining a supply of affordable housing for its citizens. I just dont hold to the vision that poor folks should be segregated in housing projects, that just arent nice places to live, let alone raise a family. I agree the issue is much more complex than just tearing down Mosby and building a new hospital. But maybe it should be a part of the conversation. Change is needed. I would like to hear what Sleepless is proposing? Discussion is healthy, but let’s talk about… Read more »

bill
bill
14 years ago

OK, here goes…thanks to sleepless, I dug a little deeper…why not use portions of MCV West Hospital for affordable housing? The old hospital itself could be a mix of condos, offices, retail and low/middle income rental units…right in the heart of downtown. Some residents misplaced by the new hospital could move into the renovated old hospital. The new hospital, placed where Mosby Court currently is located, would serve to rejuvenate that area. The new downtown residents would serve to bring life to the empty streets on evenings and weekends. This idea needs some additional batting around, but it has some… Read more »

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