Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at

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Faulty grates close Harrell Road

A popular Stafford cut-through will be closed for at least a week while the Virginia Department of Transportation tries to figure out how to fix faulty steel grate covers.

Courtesy: Virginia Department of Transportation

VDOT will fit temporary covers over the broken grate lids, said spokeswoman Kelly Hannon. That’s expected to be finished by Monday. The underpass will then be reopened, but the fix is only temporary while VDOT has a chance to look over the culvert in order to find a permanent fix.

One of the covers fell into the culvert on Jan. 31, when a deluge hit the area. After the grate broke the road was closed. Hannon said the concrete ledge supporting the lid failed.

There were also issues with a grate earlier in January and before that in December. The road was closed each time while crews fixed the problems.

The removable grates run along the road beneath the CSX railroad bridge. They cover a concrete culvert through which Claiborne Run creek flows. The cut-through, between Deacon Road and Forbes Street, has a long history of flooding. A new drainage system was built at the underpass in 2011 to help cut down on the frequent floods at the low-lying spot.

VDOT has set up barricades and message boards alerting drivers that the road is closed.


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