VDOT slated to replace bridge near New Market

WOODSTOCK – State transportation officials gave Shenandoah County leaders a heads up this week on plans to replace a bridge near New Market.

The Virginia Department of Transportation intends to replace the low-water bridge on Smith Creek Road (Va. 620). VDOT must close the road and provide detour routes around the project area during construction, Ed Carter, assistant residency administrator in Edinburg, told the Board of Supervisors.

VDOT doesn’t expect construction to begin until late 2019 or early 2020.

“I’m sure that you know that that floods consistently when we have any type of significant rainfall and we’re forced to close that road,” Carter said Thursday. “The new bridge is being proposed because that structure had become deficient and it’s continually wearing away with the continued force of the water.”

The existing bridge consists of concrete over pipes. Jamie Johnston, VDOT project manager and bridge designer, said after the meeting that the new bridge would be made of concrete slabs. Johnston said, in general terms, the concrete is deteriorating.

“It’s not actively falling apart but it will in the future,” Johnston said.

VDOT’s proposal for a new bridge meets federal standards at 22-feet wide and 65-feet long with guardrails. The new bridge would stand 4 feet higher than the existing structure and lay slightly to the west, Carter told the board. Hydraulic rules require that the new bridge sit higher.

District 1 Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese pointed out that floods would still cover the new bridge. Carter concurred but noted that the new bridge might not wash out as often.

VDOT estimates the cost at $1.9 million. Most of the funding would come from federal sources.

Agency officials have been in discussion with landowners about acquiring property for the right of way.

“There are no significant obstacles on their part for granting us the right of way to do this,” Carter said.

VDOT still needs to close the road to tear out the existing crossing. Construction could take nine to 18 months depending on weather and when work can begin, Carter noted. VDOT faces restrictions on what time of year it can work on projects that involve creeks and other waterways.

VDOT must advertise a detour route that goes from one side of the site to the other and uses hard-surface roads. The proposed detour spans about eight miles, Carter said. However, Carter noted that many residents more familiar with the area likely would use other, shorter routes to go around the construction site.

Neese asked how many school buses use the road and bridge. Carter said VDOT would need to coordinate with the school system regarding the detour as construction approaches. Neese pointed out that another, low-water bridge lies along the proposed detour route.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com