Brooke Grow 757-925-1515


Aug. 16, 2013


ISLE OF WIGHT– A safety project to enhance traction on the grid deck of the James River Bridge (Route 17) is set to begin later this month. The project to install studs on the grid deck of the bridge was awarded to Corman Construction, in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, at a cost of $897,500. Preliminary work on the project is scheduled to commence the week of August 26, with installation of the studs beginning after the Labor Day weekend. The completion date is November 1, 2013.

“After conducting a review of the bridge deck, we have determined that the installation of the studs will provide additional traction and an added level of safety and security for motorists utilizing the James River Bridge,” said Jim Utterback, VDOT Hampton Roads District Administrator.

Crews will work under single lane closures to install the studs on the grid deck of the bridge. No full weekend closures are planned to occur in either direction. Motorists should anticipate minor delays and expect single lane closures at all times except the following when work zones will be suspended and all lanes will remain open:

Route 17 North
• Weekends: Saturday at 5 a.m. to Monday at 9 a.m.
• Morning Rush Hour: Monday – Friday 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Route 17 South
• Weekends: Friday 3 p.m. to Sunday at 7 p.m.
• Evening Rush Hour: Monday – Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Following a three-month internal safety evaluation, VDOT identified the stud installation as the best course of action to help provide enhanced vehicle traction. Traffic safety options were evaluated based on five criteria: reliability, installation, surface friction, rideability and cost.

VDOT conducted the evaluation of the bridge deck’s roadway surface and a safety audit of the structure after observing an increase in crashes that began two months after the new grid deck’s installation. The JRB Grid Deck Replacement Project was completed in December 2012. The evaluation included a roadway safety audit and a grid deck assessment, in which no traffic safety deficiencies, structural deficiencies or abnormalities were found to correlate with the increase in traffic crashes on the grid deck.

Although the stud installation is a long-term traffic safety option, VDOT has been and will continue to use monitor the grid deck’s safety and heighten motorist awareness. These efforts include:  
• Continued use of overhead electronic message signs to post the 45 mph advisory speed during inclement weather
• Continued presence of Virginia State Police during inclement weather until studs are installed
• Installation of “Slippery When Wet”/”Steel Deck” signs
• Installation of “Stay in Lane” signs, along with solid white double lane lines
• Continued monitoring of crashes to determine the effect of mitigation strategies and modification to the grid deck to increase friction and skid resistance
• Use of traffic calming devices to slow down traffic in the event that further safety options prove necessary

For more information on the stud installation project, please visit:
VDOT Projects

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Aug. 16, 2013