VDOT discusses decision to make Route 1 bridge single-laned

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: May 27, 2018 | 2:20 p.m.

DINWIDDIE – Earlier this month, an over year-long lane shift along Boydton Plank Road came to an end after work on the Route 1 southbound bridge was finally completed, but residents and county leaders have questions about the finished product of that work.

During their meeting this month, supervisors were informed by the Virginia Department of Transportation that work on the roadway had wrapped up and had since reopened on May 8, just over a year after the road had initially closed for a bridge rehabilitation project. 

Speaking to County Administrator Kevin Massengill as VDOT’s representation was not present to deliver their monthly report to county leaders, Supervisor Daniel Lee asked the county to seek out comment from VDOT regarding what led to the decision that the newly-completed span would be only one lane as opposed to the two-lane road it was prior to the work being done, adding that he’s received some questions from residents who have crossed over the span of late.

According to a fact sheet given out to attendees of a public information meeting in February of 2016 held at Dinwiddie Elementary School, a short drive away from the bridge, the $3 million project sought to simply repair the bridge that crosses over CSX railroad property in order to “remove the structurally deficient bridge rating and bring the bridge to full capacity.”

Crews spent over a year rehabilitating the U.S. Route 1 southbound bridge along Boydton Plank Road in Dinwiddie County. The finished product of the rehabilitation sees the southbound lane reduced to one lane, but adds a shoulder, something the bridge lacked previously, according to VDOT. (Virginia Department of Transportation)

That document went on further to say “repairs will reduce the bridge from two lanes to one,” adding, “This approach will eliminate right-of-way impacts for the project and improve safety by providing a shoulder where none existed before.”

When asked for additional comment, VDOT Richmond District spokesperson Jessica Cowardin said this one-lane design was an agreed-upon solution between Dinwiddie County, CSX, and VDOT to “temporarily repair the bridge” that sees an average of 2,300 vehicles per day, according to data from a 2014 traffic count.

“So what crews did was remove the bridge deck, repaired the steel beams, and then they rehabilitated the bridge deck to accommodate one lane of traffic with wider shoulders,” Cowardin explained. “The number of lanes along U.S. Route 1 in that area varies so it isn’t unusual for it to go from two lanes down to one.”

She added that this fix is only temporary, saying that “both bridges will have to be replaced” in the future. 

“What VDOT is doing now is working with CSX and the county to get those bridges in better condition ahead of when they need to be replaced down the road,” Cowardin said. “Crews did as much as they could with the funding. The deck and the steel beams were all rehabilitated, so it was a pretty solid repair that is going to last quite awhile but, until that long-term repair is done, this is going to hold up for awhile.”

No specifics regarding a timetable for the either bridges’ complete replacement has been revealed by VDOT.

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