Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal
photo credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal connects Southern Branch of Elizabeth River with North Landing River.

Approximately 10 miles in length, the canal is maintained maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District to a depth of 12 feet.

The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and Dismal Swamp Canal form alternative routes along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between the Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound.

The two canals are part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW), a protected inland channel that stretches from Norfolk, Virginia to Key West, Florida.

Great Bridge Lock controls water levels between the Southern Branch of Elizabeth River and the canal. The lock opens on demand and has operating staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Great Bridge Bridge, operated by the City of Chesapeake, is located adjacent to the lock. The bridge opens every hour from 6:00 a.m., to 7:00 p.m., and on demand after 7:00 pm. The schedule is subject to change during adverse weather conditions.

The Great Bridge Lock operators can be reached via marine radio channel 13 or by phone  at (757) 547-3311.

In Chesapeake Virginia, Great Bridge Lock Park is a 19-acre park located on a small peninsula surrounded by the canal on one side and the river on the other. Maintained by the City of Chesapeake, the park includes a boat ramp, interpretive signage explaining the lock system, and other amenities.

The National Park Service (NPS) includes Great Bridge Lock Park on its Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, in recognition of the site’s historic and ecological significance. The park is the southernmost explored point on the Capt. John Smith National Historic Waterways Trail.

Nearby is Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Park, another important historic site.

North Landing Bridge is located at the eastern end of the canal. The bridge opens every hour and half hour from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on demand at all times for commercial traffic and after 7:00 pm. North Landing Bridge operators can be reached via marine radio channel 13 or by phone at (757) 482-3081.

Related Information

Tidewater Virginia Waterways

Elizabeth River