River lovers should expect to see impacts soon from work on a new bridge being added on Interstate 95 as part of the Rappahannock River crossing project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says construction activity will start this week with crews, equipment and materials arriving to build a new southbound bridge between the two existing Interstate 95 spans.

The new bridge will carry three new lanes of traffic as part of the project that will eventually add six new lanes in the median between U.S. 17 in Stafford and State Route 3 in Fredericksburg. Another bridge will be built for the northbound crossing project that will start later.

Workers will use Wicklow Drive and Quarry Road to get to and from the construction site, according to local VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

Advisory signs will be posted to alert those who use the paths and the river for recreation, which will remain open during construction. Those areas will be part of a work zone, with safety fencing to keep users from the construction area.

A path for river access beneath the I–95 bridges will remain open during most of the work, Hannon said.

On the water, “signs, buoys and a rope guide provide direction for river traffic approaching the work zone to pass through the open channel underneath the bridges,” Hannon said in the release.

Starting in the fall, for periods lasting up to several weeks at a time, river users will have to carry their crafts on land through a section beneath the I–95 bridges.

“Signs have also been installed at several launch locations north of the work zone to alert river users of the work zone channel,” Hannon said. “These signs will be updated when a portage is in place.”

Work has already started on the $132 million southbound crossing project and is scheduled to be finished in May 2022. The northbound project’s schedule calls for work to start in 2020 and wrap up in 2023.

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

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