PHOTO: Chatham Bridge

Crumbling concrete exposes rusty rebar on the Chatham Bridge from Stafford to Fredericksburg.

If this comes as a surprise, then it’s already too late for you, but clocks were turned back an hour as daylight saving time came to an end on Sunday.

What does this have to do with transportation?

A few things.

Also, while not all states observe DST, it has been used in at least one area in the U.S. since 1918, according to timeanddate.com.

The USDOT says setting clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall helps save electricity (later sunsets equal less power used) and lives (more people drive to and from work during daylight hours, meaning fewer crashes).

There are critics, though, who claim the time changes not only cause more car crashes, but that it throws our circadian rhythm off kilter.

But DST is the hand we’ve been dealt, whether we’re on time or not.

Arizona bridge work to be envied

We all like quality, safe paths for our travels, and even accept the hassles of work zones and road closures when called upon for the good of the infrastructure. There are worse things in life.

Still, sometimes the impact is really big, like the Chatham Bridge project.

The Chatham Bridge is an old-timer as far as bridges go.

At 78, the span should be enjoying its golden years, but instead is being prepped for a superstructure replacement. While the base is considered sound, the upper structure has been deteriorating for years. And heavy rains last year hastened its downfall.

As a result, the Virginia Department of Transportation accelerated the project start date.

Sometime in 2020, as early as May, the Chatham crossing is set to become a bridge to nowhere for 16 months. It’s something that will so impact traffic that smaller projects must be competed just to get ready for the work to replace the main structure of the span over the Rappahannock River.

The work is necessary. It’s also a tight footprint, making for a more complicated job.

Maybe this is a symptom of an age when everything seems to run on an accelerated schedule, but 16 months seems like such a long time.

So long, in fact, that if work starts in May, in the time it’ll take to finish the job, two cycles of daylight saving time could elapse.

Maybe there is no other option with the Chatham Bridge. But that never stopped a busybody from asking, what if?

And a bulletin about work on an Arizona bridge project sure set a busybody to wondering.

According to said bulletin, from the Arizona Department of Transportation, spans over Interstate 40 west of Flagstaff were expected to be closed six to eight months while being replaced, but a change in plans led to a change in delivery.

At the contractor’s suggestion, they used a method that involved casting the new bridges nearby and then setting them into place with hydraulic jacks.

The crossing was closed for just nine days.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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