Cold delays bridge traffic shift

FRONT ROYAL – Cold weather has pushed today’s planned traffic shift for the South Fork Bridge to next week.

The Virginia Department of Transportation notified Front Royal officials Tuesday that the contractor on the South Fork Bridge project would need to delay shifting the northbound traffic onto the new crossing until Monday.

Cold weather prevents crews from installing the striping on the bridge, according to information from the town. Crews should complete the work over the weekend if temperatures rise as predicted. The shift is planned to occur after 9 a.m. and the morning school traffic Monday.

Wagman Construction is replacing the U.S. 340-522 bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River with a wider, six-lane crossing. Crews plan to shift traffic to the new section, then demolish and replace the southbound side.

VDOT officials provided a project update to the Warren County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Officials also advised the board about the delay. Ronnie Good, VDOT’s construction engineer, said weather remains a major factor in the project’s construction. Colder weather makes it difficult to complete temperature-sensitive parts of the project, Good said. Workers were out Tuesday trying to heat up the materials needed to stripe the surface.

“It’s advantageous for the department and the contractor to make the initial switch to get traffic onto the new bridge,” Good said.

In order to move the southbound traffic to the new bridge, crews will need to put down asphalt at the approaches to the crossing, Good said. This could occur in the next week or two though the task also remains weather dependent, Good added.

The engineer also advised motorists to drive carefully through the intersection of U.S. 340-522 and Strasburg Road. VDOT is doing what it can to improve the traffic congestion at the intersection and the corridor, Good said.

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