Varina-Enon Bridge - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting

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About Varina-Enon Bridge

Varina-Enon Bridge is a 1426 meters long cable-stayed bridge that carries Interstate 295 across the James River near Dutch Gap between Henrico County near Richmond and Chesterfield County near Hopewell, Virginia. It was opened to traffic in July 1990 and has six lanes.

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Things to Do at Varina-Enon Bridge

You can't do much from the bridge apart from admiring its view from further away and enjoying the stunning views of the James River and the suspension cables that support it. There should have been an observation deck on the bridge for people to stop and enjoy the views for a few minutes, but sadly it is not the case.

Another activity you can do to have a different angle of the bridge is to kayak on the James river below. It offers nice views of the bridge from underneath.

Activities Around

History of Varina-Enon Bridge

Varina-Enon Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge which carries Interstate 295 across the James River. It was opened to traffic in July 1990.

The bridge has six lanes in total, three in each direction with road shoulders on each end. The bridge is over the shipping channel that leads to the Port of Richmond, giving a vertical navigational clearance of 46 meters and a horizontal navigational clearance of 192 meters. The bridge is 1,426 meters in length.

Varina-Enon Bridge is owned and maintained by VDOT(Virginia Department of Transportation). VDOT played a significant role in increasing the number of peregrine falcons in Virginia which were listed as federally endangered in 1970.

VDOT learnt that high bridge structures closely match the peregrine falcon's preferred nesting environment on cliff faces and in high trees. In a program that earned them the 1998 Federal Highway Administration Excellence Award in the category of Environment Protection and Enhancements, nesting boxes for these rare birds were established in several bridges including the Varina-Enon Bridge.

In a major victory for the endangered species, and VDOT's environmental efforts, in the spring of 2003, nearly a dozen peregrine falcon chicks were hatched. Most were taken from their nesting boxes on various VDOT bridges for banding and release to their natural habitat.

The population of the peregrine falcons has significantly recovered over the past 30 years, thanks to conservation efforts such as VDOTs. VDOT monitors the falcons on each bridge to ensure they and their habitat are doing well. VDOT has even established falcon-specific contract requirements for the Structure and Bridge Division as it continues to identify other nesting sites.

Best Time to Visit Varina-Enon Bridge

There is no special time to visit the bridge. Just don't go out during bad weather conditions, like tornadoes.

Tips for Visiting Varina-Enon Bridge

  1. There are no legal spots to stop on the highway leading to the bridge or on the bridge itself so if you are visiting to take some pictures, legal opportunities might be very low.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Varina-Enon Bridge

  1. Varina-Enon Bridge was the tallest bridge in Virginia when it opened; it is now the third-tallest.
  2. Nesting boxes for endangered Virginia peregrine falcons are placed at the bridge as the high bridge structure matches their nesting habitats.
  3. Bridge is named for the cities of Varina and Enon, the closest cities to each end of the bridge.
  4. The bridge features the first application of precast concrete delta frames of any bridge in the world. 
  5. On August 6, 1993, a tornado made a direct strike on the bridge. While considerable damage was done on the ground, and trucks were overturned on the bridge, the bridge itself was not damaged.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Varina-Enon Bridge

If you are driving through the bridge, you will be passing through it in less than ten minutes.

How to Reach Varina-Enon Bridge

From Richmond, the bridge is only 25 minutes to reach by car. Take VA-5 and Varina road connected to it later. You will end in an area that offers some good opportunities to take photos of the bridge.

Entrance Fee of Varina-Enon Bridge

There is no fee to enter the bridge.

Opening Hours of Varina-Enon Bridge

Varina-Enon Bridge is open 24 hours since it is a transportation bridge part of a highway.

Attractions Near Varina-Enon Bridge

Henricus Historical Park

Henricus Historical Park

1.55km from Varina-Enon Bridge

Henricus was one of the earliest English settlements in the New World. It was located on the neck of a peninsula later known as Farrar's Island, a former curl of the James River about 12 miles southeast of the modern city of Richmond, Virginia.

Presquile National Wildlife Refuge

Presquile National Wildlife Refuge

7.98km from Varina-Enon Bridge

One of four refuges that comprise the Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Established to protect habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds, Presquile is an important component in the network of refuges on and around the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. The refuge is primarily hardwood swamp, with a fringe of marsh and 300 acres of upland fields.

BENSLEY PARK

BENSLEY PARK

10.31km from Varina-Enon Bridge

This 17-acre park provides several recreational amenities, including tennis courts, ball fields, walking trails, a picnic area and a playground. The Bensley Recreation Center, which is located within the park, also hosts a variety of programs and events for youths, adults, and seniors.

Magnolia Grange House Museum

Magnolia Grange House Museum

14.17km from Varina-Enon Bridge

The Magnolia Grange is a historic mansion located across from the Chesterfield County Courthouse in Chesterfield. This brick plantation house was built in 1823 and is a two-story, five-bay, brick dwelling in the Federal style. It is known for its elaborate woodwork and ornamental ceiling medallions. It now operates as a museum and has a lot of ancient collections.

Centre Hill Mansion

Centre Hill Mansion

17.26km from Varina-Enon Bridge

The Centre Hill Mansion was built in 1823 by Robert Bolling IV, a Revolutionary War veteran and member of a prominent Virginia family. The house is a combination of Federal, Greek Revival, and Colonial architectural styles. The house remained a residence until 1936. Today Centre Hill is a historic house museum owned and operated by the City of Petersburg.

Richmond National Battlefield Park

Richmond National Battlefield Park

19.42km from Varina-Enon Bridge

The Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates 13 American Civil War sites around Richmond, Virginia, which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for most of the war. The park connects certain features within the city with defensive fortifications and battle sites around it.

Discover More Attractions in Chesterfield County, Home of Varina-Enon Bridge

Chesterfield County

Chesterfield County

14 attractions

A county located just south of Richmond in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the fourth-most populous county in Virginia. Blessed with natural beauty and so many historic places.

Location of Varina-Enon Bridge

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