By Candace Sipos -- email@example.com
WINCHESTER -- By the time work on the Senseny Road bridge over Interstate 81 begins, it will be about a year overdue. The bridge was scheduled to be re-decked starting in mid-March, but various circumstances have pushed that date back further and further.
VDOT spokeswoman Marshall Barnhill said the estimated start date is next spring. The contractor is still under negotiations regarding the material, because VDOT officials want to use a stronger, lightweight concrete that would reduce stress on the piers, abutments and beams of the bridge, Barnhill said.
But she noted that nothing else is holding the project back, and "once it gets started, it should move along as planned, but that's always dependent on the weather."
"There are always circumstances where work could be delayed," she said.
John Bishop, transportation planner for Frederick County, where the bridge is located, said a number of factors have gone into this project's delay.
Although he hasn't been included on many recent discussions involving this project, Bishop said he believed that the holdup is related to the number of projects under statewide contract with the construction company, Infrastructure Corp. of America.
According to previous reports by Barnhill, the $9 million contract with ICA included 23 projects in northwestern Virginia. The Senseny Road bridge repair represents about $1.04 million of that total.
Bishop said he also believed that construction was held off until after the Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old World Series as a "courtesy" to the community.
Construction would have shut down the Bridgeforth Drive entrance to Jim Barnett Park, off Cork Street, which may have posed traffic issues during the championship.
The contractor was also suggesting closing down the entire bridge for at least part of the project, Bishop said.
"We came out fairly heavily against that, because it would really cause major problems for our citizens," he said. "We have so much traffic on Senseny Road."
As a courtesy, VDOT included Bishop and his team in earlier discussions, such as those surrounding the closure of the bridge, but "at the end of the day, VDOT owns the roadways," he said.
He and Barnhill verified that the estimated timeline will remain the same -- five months to completion, once construction actually begins.
"It has been identified as a needed maintenance project for a number of years," Bishop said. "... It's really getting to where it's drug out a fair amount, so it'll be nice to see it come to a resolution."