Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
Nov. 18, 2011
AIRPORT ROAD BRIDGE TO REMAIN CLOSED IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY
VDOT Accelerating plans for new bridge construction
STAUNTON – The bridge over the North River on Route 727 (Airport Road) will remain closed in Rockingham County pending its replacement. This location is between Route 11 (Lee Highway) and Route 696 (Kisers Road) and extends over to Route 42 (Warm Springs Pike) just south of the Town of Bridgewater. Airport Road provides access to Dynamic Aviation. The bridge has been closed since Nov. 1 following damage from an overweight vehicle striking the bridge.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is working to accelerate plans to replace the bridge structure and improve portions of Route 727. A public hearing concerning this project was held on Sept. 8 at Turner Ashby High School. A description of this project can be found on the VDOT website at www.VirginiaDOT.org under Projects and Studies.
Originally scheduled for fall 2015, VDOT engineers are now working to advertise the project for construction in fall 2012 with construction beginning in spring 2013 and concluding in fall 2013. The project design plans are anticipated to be approved in early 2012. Right of way work will take place in spring and summer 2012. Right of way includes property acquisition and utility relocations. Once right of way activities are complete then the project can be advertised for contractor bids.
“We know it is disappointing to learn that the current detours will remain in place for an extended period of time,” said Rex Pearce, P.E., VDOT Staunton District structure and bridge engineer. Pearce indicates that following extensive bridge inspections the structure cannot safely be reopened to traffic. He said, “We cannot take the chance of another overweight vehicle crossing this bridge and damaging it to the point where it collapses either for that vehicle or the next one to cross this structure.”
VDOT engineers evaluated the option of constructing a temporary bridge, estimated to cost in excess of $400,000 and taking up to six months to construct. Use of the temporary bridge would be for six to nine months before it would be removed for the new bridge construction.
Pearce said, “Safety for the traveling public is always our first priority and sometimes that leads to difficult decisions.” He adds, “We appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation. We will do everything we can to accelerate this project. This is a top priority project for the VDOT Staunton District.”
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org. For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads.
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