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Falmouth bridge work starts soon

October 6, 2012 12:10 am

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Crews will begin replacing some of the concrete sidewalk and railings on the Falmouth bridge next week.

BY SCOTT SHENK

BY SCOTT SHENK

Those orange and red spray-paint markings on the Falmouth bridge aren't Halloween related.

And they're not graffiti.

Instead, the markings are part of the prep work for a makeover of the crumbling sidewalks and railings on the old structure that spans the Rappahannock River.

Work is scheduled to begin Monday at 8 p.m. Most of the work during the project will take place at night, with crews finishing up by 6 a.m.

McClain and Company Inc. will replace some of the concrete sidewalk and railings and rehab other sections, depending on the condition.

During the demolition phase, things could get loud around the bridge area as workers will use jackhammers and other equipment to pound away the old concrete, warned Tina Bundy with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

She said VDOT has worked with Fredericksburg and Stafford officials to ensure that they stay within the noise ordinances.

The contractor also will take precautions to keep debris from having an impact on the river, Bundy said.

Work will start on the northbound side and will close all but one lane. Once the northbound side is done, workers will shift to the southbound side. Pedestrians won't be able to use the sidewalk being worked on during the project.

The bridge serves as a major thoroughfare in the Fredericksburg area, handling about 30,000 vehicle trips per day.

Built in 1943, the bridge is deemed "functionally obsolete," primarily because it can no longer handle the heavy traffic flow. It also has surpassed the 50-year life cycle set by federal guidelines.

VDOT says the bridge is safe. It was last inspected in October 2011 and, while it has low ratings, it passed.

The crumbling sidewalks are in poor shape, with the reinforcing bars protruding from several sections, especially on the southbound city end of the bridge, where a long metal plate covers a particularly bad spot. The old lampposts were even removed some time ago because of the deteriorating concrete.

The $383,000 project is scheduled to be finished in November.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com





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