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Errant Boater Hits Bridge, Forcing Closure of a Section of the Colonial Parkway

Colonial Parkway.

A section of the Colonial Parkway. NPS photo.

An unusual hit and run crash involving a boater and a bridge has forced the closure of a section of the Colonial Parkway in Virginia. Officials at Colonial National Historical Park say part of the road between Jamestown and Williamsburg will be closed indefinitely.

Each year, several million people drive the scenic and historic 23-mile roadway. The park's Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown units are located at opposite ends of the parkway; the privately managed Colonial Williamsburg is located near the mid-point of the trip. Together, the three sites form what is called Virginia's "Historic Triangle."

According to information from the park,

The Colonial Parkway between Route 199/King’s Point and Route 359 (Jamestown) is closed indefinitely to through traffic due to a boating accident that severely damaged a support piling on the Powhatan Creek bridge. Engineers from the Federal Highway Administration have already performed a preliminary inspection of the damaged piling and bridge to determine the extent of the damage. They will continue a more thorough inspection next week before recommending a course of repairs.

From Williamsburg, the Parkway will remain open to traffic as far as the Jamestown Information Station to allow use of the turnouts at College Creek, Archer’s Hope and Mill Creek; however, through traffic from Williamsburg to Jamestown will need to make use of the marked detour utilizing Route 199, Jamestown Road (Route 31), and Route 359.

Traffic between Yorktown and Williamsburg will not be impacted by the closure. If you aren't familiar with the area and plan to visit, you'll find a map of the park here.

The National Park Service and Virginia Marine Police are investigating the damage, which was not reported by the vessel involved in the accident. Recreational boaters reported it to the National Park Service on Friday afternoon, July 24.

“First and foremost, we are thankful that the Powhatan Creek bridge did not collapse beneath the weight of any vehicles prior to the discovery of the damage and that this very serious situation caused no injuries,” said Park Superintendent Dan Smith. “We recognize the importance of the Colonial Parkway to the local transportation system as well as area tourism and are working to fix the damage and reopen the Parkway as quickly and safely as possible.”


It would be very appropriate if a drunken motorist crashes into that guy's house.

How big a boat are we talking? I would imagine it would have to be rather significant in size.

As far as I can tell, authorities haven't said what kind of boat they are looking for. The boat that was responsible for this hit-and-run must have been fairly substantially built to have done the damage described in news reports. The direct hit on the bridge piling shattered the concrete, exposing bare rebar.

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