Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents.
Falmouth Bridge work will take longer than expected
The Falmouth Bridge concrete rehabilitation project is going to take longer than expected.
Instead of finishing the work this month, as first expected, work is still in the early stages with some of the northbound sidewalk having been chipped away and covered with plywood. The job isn’t expected to be finished until February, said Kelly Hannon with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The reason for the delay is simple. Once the contractor started the work on the 69-year-old bridge, crews discovered that the concrete is “more severely deteriorated than expected,” said Hannon. “There’s more repairs to be done.”
The accumulation of moisture and salt treatments in snowstorms have contributed to the corrosion of the concrete beneath the surface, Hannon said.
Plus, the bridge is really old.
The work is now being done on the northbound side. Crews are working during the week from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. After work on the northbound side is done, crews will move to the southbound side.
VDOT says one lane on the bridge is closed while crews are working, and pedestrians will not be able to use the side of the bridge where work is being done.
Some of the work is loud; jackhammers and other equipment is being used to break apart the concrete.
The Falmouth Bridge is a major thoroughfare in the Fredericksburg area, handling about 30,000 vehicle trips per day. Built in 1943, the bridge is labeled “functionally obsolete,” because it can no longer handle the heavy traffic flow. It also has surpassed the 50-year life cycle set by federal guidelines.
The sidewalks are in bad shape, with reinforcing bars protruding from several sections of the crumbled sidewalks, especially on the southbound city end of the bridge, where a long metal plate covers seriously crumbled section. The lampposts were removed years ago because of the deteriorating concrete.
VDOT says the bridge is safe. It passed its inspection in October, but with low ratings.
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