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Rain, vandals delay Spotswood Furnace bridge work

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A project to replace two small bridges in rural Spotsylvania County has run into a few snags that have delayed completion of the work by about two months.

Work on the Spotswood Furnace Road bridges over Laroque Run and Pipe Dam Run started in May and was slated to be wrapped up by July 1. The work now is expected to be finished in September.

The road is closed to through-traffic from River Road to U.S. Ford Road.

The delay in the project won’t affect a great deal of traffic; the bridges are on a rural gravel section of the road, about a mile from the four-way intersection with River Road, used by only 450 vehicles a day, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Inspections of the bridges in 2012 revealed structural deterioration, after which temporary structures were erected until the current work began.

VDOT is using state employees instead of a contractor to handle the $400,000 project, something that saves money, said VDOT’s Kelly Hannon. Those state workers are trained to do bridge maintenance and construction, and are helping VDOT deal with structurally deficient bridges throughout the region. Problem is, using those workers runs the risk that they could be called to work on more urgent bridge projects, which is what happened.

In June, the crews working on the project were called to finish work on a bridge in King and Queen County that had been closed since October and had a 45-minute detour, Hannon said. That project took three weeks to complete.

Hannon added that two other problems have also slowed the Spotsylvania project.

Heavy rain dislodged dams that were installed to help workers on the project. Those dams had to be replaced.

Then, vandals threw a kink into the project’s progress by causing $40,000 in damages to equipment on the work site, Hannon said.

The crews are now back on the job, and work on one of the bridges is almost completed, she said.

The road will have to stay closed to through traffic until both bridges are opened.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436