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Mattox Creek bridge work set to begin

Work to replace the Mattox Creek bridge south of Colonial Beach is about to start.

On Tuesday, crews will start moving in equipment, which will be stored on State Route 638 at State Route 205. The section of Route 638 near the project will remain closed throughout the project.

Actual work on the bridge won’t start until after July 4.

The $8.1 million project will take two years to complete, so residents who use State Route 205 (James Monroe Highway) will have to get used to delays.

The Virginia Department of Transportation and the contractor held a meeting Wednesday evening to provide details of the project and to give area residents an idea of what to expect.

“It’s reached the end of its service life,” VDOT’s David Brown said of the bridge at the meeting.

The structurally deficient bridge will be torn down, one side at a time, and replaced.

The new bridge will have wider lanes and shoulders.

The work will not completely shut down the two-lane bridge.

Instead, one lane will be closed at a time. A temporary stoplight will be set up to control traffic.

There may be some full closures of the bridge, Brown said. But the contractor can do that only for seven days during the project, which is expected to be completed in July 2016.

“We’re trying to minimize the impact to the citizens,” Brown said.

In order to avoid delays at the bridge, he suggested an alternate route for Westmoreland County commuters who work in Dahlgren.

Brown said those commuters might want to use State Route 3 and U.S. 301.

Another potential detour is Route 3 and State Route 628.

John L. Johnson was one of 28 people who attended the meeting. The Placid Bay Estates resident said he and his neighbors weren’t sure if the bridge would be closed during the project.

Johnson was glad to hear the bridge will stay open to traffic most of the time.

He’s also pleased that the bridge is going to be replaced.

“We’ve said that for years,” he said. “It’s definitely needed.”

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436