The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
King George gets Nice Bridge report
Maryland officials have set aside $6.1 million toward building a new Harry Nice Memorial Bridge.
But don’t get too excited about how quickly a new four-lane structure may span the Potomac River. That $6.1 million is a drop in the bucket when a project totals nearly a billion dollars.
“This is the very nuts and bolts of the beginning,” Will Pines, a manager with the Maryland Transportation Authority, told the King George County Board of Supervisors this week.
Maryland officials updated the King George board on the U.S. 301 bridge project, which has officially moved from planning phase to preliminary engineering. For the next two fiscal years, the Maryland group will do geotechnical work, which includes checking the riverbed for old ordnance from the Navy’s nearby Potomac River Test Range and then removing it.
Maryland also will spend $13.2 million on bridge maintenance, such as concrete deck repairs, deck sealing and rehabilitation of the catwalk.
Plans call for construction of a four-lane bridge parallel to the current structure. It would have a bike and pedestrian path on the south side, separated by a barrier.
The current two-land span would be removed after completion of the new bridge. The total estimated cost of the project is $833 million to $916 million.
There’s no timetable for construction, but the bridge is designed to support traffic growth for 2030, according to the presentation.
The Nice bridge opened in December 1940 and has gone well beyond what the U.S. Department of Transportation calls its “theoretical design life” of 50 years.
FROM DUMP TO PARK
Anyone who ever dropped off trash at the old King George landfill off State Route 205 might be surprised to see the land being transformed into a park.
Members of the Board of Supervisors certainly were.
“I’m just amazed at what this looks like, compared to a few years ago,” said Supervisor Cedell Brooks Jr. “It’s a great asset to the people of Shiloh [District] after they lived with the landfill for those all those years and were promised a park.”
The new facility is named Shiloh Park and its first phase costs $1.29 million. The big hole on the property, where trash was removed and taken to the current landfill, will become a bowl-shaped design with baseball and soccer fields and a court for tennis, basketball and street hockey. There will also be shelters for picnics.
Trails and a playground eventually will be added, along with lights, concessions and bathrooms, said Tim Smith, director of the King George Parks and Recreation Department.
Excavation work at the site is behind schedule by almost a month because of the wet summer. County officials expect to use the new park next fall.
OFFICER IN THE HOUSE
A uniformed deputy will begin attending Board of Supervisors meetings in King George, just as officers already do in most localities in the Fredericksburg region.
Sheriff Steve Dempsey said officials had been talking about having a deputy at meetings recently, especially after three people were killed at a town-hall meeting in Pennsylvania in August.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425