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Winter delays Fall Hill bridge work

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The Fall Hill Avenue bridge replacement over the Rappahannock Canal was slowed by this winter’s harsh weather, pushing back the completion date to December, Fredericksburg Public Works Director Doug Fawcett told the City Council on Tuesday.

That means the 5-mile detour that was put in place when the project started Feb. 12 could be extended by as much as one month.

Fawcett said the contractor requested the delay last week and a new completion date has not yet been established.

However, he said it could be early- to mid-December before the project is finished. The project was to have been finished by Nov. 10.

The vehicle bridge at Fall Hill Avenue near the Virginia Outdoor Center was demolished and work has begun on a new one.

Fawcett showed the council photos of the progress on the vehicle bridge plus a second pedestrian bridge and a utility bridge that have been built.

He said the contractor is trying to make up the time while the weather is favorable but doesn’t expect to hit the original due date.

Because the delay is a result of factors outside the contractor’s control, the delay won’t impact its ability to earn the incentives originally offered, Fawcett said.

American Infrastructure of Worcester, Pa., can earn $1,000 per day up to $60,000 for each day the project finishes ahead of the revised schedule. The company faces a penalty of $1,000 per day if the project misses its deadline.

The detour for drivers headed toward Central Park from the east takes them along U.S. 1 to Cowan Boulevard and then onto Carl D. Silver Parkway.

Once this project is completed, a second transportation project will get underway in that area. In March, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a $30.8 million contract to add two lanes to Fall Hill Avenue and replace the current bridge over Interstate 95.

But that project, slated to finish by January 2017, won’t close Fall Hill Avenue.

That widening will make Fall Hill a four-lane, divided road from Carl D. Silver Parkway to a roundabout near the canal bridge. The roundabout will connect Fall Hill to an extension of Mary Washington Boulevard.

The new bridge over I–95 will have sidewalks. In addition, a sidewalk will be placed on one side of Fall Hill Avenue and a multi-use path on the other.

On Tuesday, Fawcett also updated the council on two other public works projects along Fall Hill Avenue.

Last week, contractor W.C. Spratt begun replacing the aged sanitary sewer lines and manholes in the Normandy Village neighborhood.

The work is focused on sections along Fall Hill Avenue, Hanson Avenue and Village Lane.

The contractor is replacing sewer lines and manholes in the streets and installing new sewer service lines at about 31 homes in that neighborhood. That work is to be completed by the end of August and will cost about $800,000.

In addition, while contractors are in that area and traffic is at a minimum, Fawcett said the city will tackle another road project already funded in the budget year that begins next Tuesday.

Once the sewer-line work is finished, the portion of Fall Hill Avenue between U.S. 1 and the canal bridge will be milled and paved.

After that, Fawcett said he’s hopeful his department will be out of that area of the city for a long time to come.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972

pgould@freelancestar.com

CITY PRAYER POLICY CHANGE APPROVED

Fredericksburg’s City Council voted Tuesday night to change its prayer policy to allow both sectarian and nonsectarian prayers to be delivered by council members.

The change resulted from a May 5 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. The court ruled in that case that it does not violate the Constitution’s establishment clause to have prayers at government meetings that use language specific to a religion.

Former Councilman Hashmel Turner, an ordained minister who fought for the right to use the name of Jesus when he gave the invocation while on council, attended the meeting but did not speak.

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