CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Work related to the replacement of the Belmont Bridge project is officially underway on Monday, June 11.

Engineering crews are drilling in the area around the bridge, and this project is expected to continue through much of June.

The city says laborers are doing geotechnical drilling, which is research that will help engineers figure out the soil makeup underneath the site of the planned new bridge.

The engineering firm hired to work on the design for the Belmont Bridge was out on Water Street on Monday to conduct preliminary research.

Charlottesville says this work will get rid of the unknowns so that planners can design for known conditions around the bridge. Plus, this research will help keep the project on budget.

“This is pretty standard for a major piece of infrastructure like this - we've also done it for dams in the community - so when you're putting a lot of concrete, a lot of weight, onto the soil, you need to make sure you understand the composition,” says Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville’s director of communications.

The city says these findings will help planners finish the last 40 percent of the bridge design.

Once the design and bidding is complete, a final price for the project will be released. Right now, it’s estimated to cost more than $24 million.

Construction on the bridge is not expected to officially get underway until the summer of 2020.