By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: Jan. 23, 2018 | 1:10 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – A bridge that has linked Dinwiddie to Amelia County for over seven-decades has finally received a much-needed rehabilitation and, as of last week, the span is open for commuters.
The Virginia Department of Transportation told supervisors at their regular meeting this month that the Route 708 bridge Namozine Road that crosses of the creek of the same name has been completed, roughly ten months after crews closed the road to begin construction in March of 2017.
Project engineers said the original bridge was built in 1940 and is “substandard to handle future traffic volumes,” with the old span measuring 170 feet in length with a clear deck width of 24 feet.
The newly completed span adds ten feet of length to the bridge and widens the structure by another two feet.
According to VDOT, the replacement cost the agency just over $3.2 million and marks the completion of another bridge infrastructure project in Dinwiddie County.
Across the county along Route 703, an ongoing bridge replacement along Carson Road was finally completed after the road was closed on Valentine’s Day of 2017 to allow VDOT crews to replace the span that crosses over Rowanty Creek.
By late November, VDOT officials accepted the completed bridge, much to the support of supervisors and the community as a whole, despite some later complaints of bumpiness along the span, which VDOT officials said they would check into.
A short drive from the Dinwiddie Courthouse, crews are still working on making repairs to the U.S. Route 1 bridge that crosses over CSX railroad property, a project that began in February and is expected to finish during the spring of 2018.
The transportation agency said, “The primary purpose of this project is to repair the southbound Route 1 bridge over CSX property to remove the structurally deficient bridge rating and bring the bridge to full capacity.”
That project is expected to cost roughly $3 million once completed.
In VDOT’s data, only 1,209 of the commonwealth’s over 21,000 bridges fall into the structurally deficient category, with another 3,429 considered “functionally obsolete.” In Dinwiddie specifically, their records show seven of the county’s 193 bridges are considered structurally deficient, a significant reduction from the nearly 40 bridges with the same designation in 2011.
A bridge receiving such a rating “must be monitored, inspected and maintained,” with VDOT citing the Federal Highway Administration in saying the fact that a bridge is “deficient” does not imply that the structure is likely to collapse or that it is unsafe.
In an effort to address this, VDOT representatives said they inspect all of its bridges “at least once every two years unless there are issues due to age, deterioration, bridge damage, or other concerns,” which would prompt more frequent inspections.
“When we find that a bridge has safety issues or structural concerns, action is immediately taken to post weight limits, detour traffic and repair these structures,” officials explained, noting that they have a staff of over 100 people dedicated to bridge inspections and consultants are brought into assist in the process.
One way VDOT is helping to deal with that challenge is through the State of Good Repair Program, which allocates funds to reconstruction and replacement of structurally deficient state and locally owned bridges, along with “reconstruction and rehabilitation of pavement on the Interstate System and primary state highway system determined to be deteriorated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, including municipality-maintained primary extensions.”
Over $171 million in funds has been allocated toward the program in VDOT’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, with the agency receiving other federal dollars toward bridge and road maintenance.