Mathews, VA

Coast Guard will move assets from Mathews Milford Haven station

Watchful Eye
Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Coast Guard plans to temporarily move some of its assets from the Station Milford Haven in Mathews while much-needed work is done on the Route 223 Bridge, U.S. Representative Rob Wittman announced.

The Route 223 Bridge, which connects Gwynn’s Island with mainland Mathews, has a movable span that opens for marine traffic. With around 3,000 openings per year, this bridge opens more than any other state-maintained movable bridge in Virginia, according to VDOT.

However, the bridge was built in 1938, and its condition has deteriorated. Earlier this year, it had to close to marine traffic due to the need for emergency mechanical repairs, as previously reported by the Watchful Eye. It was the second time within a year that a closure was required.

Even once the bridge reopened, “due to the condition of the bridge,” openings were limited to six times a day: 2 a.m., 5 a.m., 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

This month, VDOT said it's mobilizing to the Route 223 Bridge to begin a $10.7 million maintenance project that will improve the mechanical and electrical elements and allow the bridge to open on request or demand 24 hours a day.

The repairs will require the bridge to close to all marine traffic for approximately six months, which is estimated to occur from August 2022 through March 2023, said VDOT. The maintenance project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2023, said VDOT.

While this project is underway, Fifth Coast Guard District’s SECTOR Virginia will relocate assets, including the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and the 49-foot Buoy Utility Stern Boat.

“These temporary movements will ensure the Coast Guard remains ready to support mariners in Mathews County and the surrounding areas. The Coast Guard is working closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation and other partnering agencies to minimize impacts to mariners,” said Wittman’s statement.

He added that the 29-foot Response Boat and the Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat will remain at Milford Haven. And once the Gwynn’s Island Bridge construction project is complete the assets that the Coast Guard moved will be brought back to their homeport.

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