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Fall Hill Avenue closure begins

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Well, with one exception.

Motorists driving through Fredericksburg on Wednesday were greeted from all directions with flashing message signs and neon orange detour signs declaring the closure of Fall Hill Avenue at the Rappahannock Canal bridge. Some signs offered ways to get around the bridge project.

Signs dot the approach to the closure from the eastern side of Fall Hill, but an entire stretch of the roadway on the western side offered no sign—literally—of what was to come.

That segment stretches from Carl D. Silver Parkway in Central Park to the bridge site just beyond the entrance to Forest Village Apartments.

As a result, a light but steady stream of cars was seen turning around in the apartment parking lot at midday.

After being alerted to the issue, Fredericksburg Public Works Director Doug Fawcett said it would be addressed quickly.

“We’ll beef the signs up there,” he said.

City officials made another adjustment Wednesday after monitoring the impact of the 9 a.m. closure.

The timing of the traffic signals along Cowan Boulevard was adjusted in the afternoon after city police Cpl. J.B. Walker noted a marked increase in vehicles along that road, police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said.

Signals had already been adjusted along the route before the closure but will be monitored over the next several days, Fawcett said earlier this week.

The 5-mile detour takes drivers from the eastern side of Fall Hill to U.S. 1 to Cowan Boulevard and then to Carl D. Silver Parkway and back to Fall Hill.

As of Wednesday morning, Fall Hill Avenue was closed between Linden Avenue in the Normandy Village neighborhood and Forest Village Apartments on the opposite side of the Rappahannock Canal.

The road will be closed there for nine months to demolish the current bridge over the canal and build a replacement.

The contractor, Pennsylvania-based American Infrastructure, has a deadline of Nov. 10 to complete the $3.1 million project.

The company has been offered an incentive of $1,000 per day up to $60,000 for completing the project early. It faces a penalty of $1,000 per day if it is late in completing the new bridge.

Motorists, residents and businesses in the vicinity of the closure have been given notice of the closure since at least December.

For those who didn’t hear or heed the warnings, Fawcett figures it will only take one trip to the barricades to educate them. But, with wintry weather impacting the roads and a holiday on Monday, he said it could be several days before the traffic flow adjusts to the change.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972