South Fork demolition set to begin Feb. 29

FRONT ROYAL – Motorists can expect a less dramatic takedown of the old South Fork Bridge to start later this month.

Front Royal and Warren County received notification from the Virginia Department of Transportation on Thursday that demolition of the U.S. 340-522 bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River would begin Feb. 29.

The operation will not involve blasting. Instead, crews with Berg Demolition of Florida plan to dismantle the old crossing by removing the concrete and cutting the steel girders, spokesman Ken Slack said Thursday. VDOT expects the operation to take approximately four months with crews working 10-hour shifts, five days a week. The demolition will not interfere with traffic.

VDOT shifted north and south lanes of the crossing to the new section in January in anticipation of closing the old bridge.

The state moved forward about a decade ago to replace the North Fork Bridge. The contractor, Flippo Construction, demolished the crossing by detonating explosives placed on the structure.

Asked why Wagman chose to dismantle rather than blast the South Fork Bridge, Slack said the method used is at the discretion of the contractor. The new section of the South Fork Bridge lies close to the old crossing.

The North Fork Bridge replacement cost approximately $20 million. VDOT awarded a $48.4 million contract to Wagman to replace the much longer South Fork Bridge. VDOT estimates completion of the South Fork Bridge in late 2017. The South Fork Bridge project includes the redesign of the intersection at U.S. 340-522 and Va. 55 (Strasburg Road).

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or