Artz Road Bridge ahead of schedule

Construction workers with Orders Construction Company continue construction on the $2.1 million Artz Road bridge located north of Woodstock. The bridge, which will be built downstream from the existing low water bridge, is being built higher to reduce the times of high-water events. The bridge is scheduled to be completed in spring 2018. Rich Cooley//Daily

Work on a new bridge on Artz Road in Shenandoah County is months ahead of schedule.

The project replaces the low water, single lane bridge with a slightly wider and longer crossing. The Virginia Department of Transportation estimated the project’s completion in May 2018. However, VDOT spokesman Ken Slack confirmed Monday that the project is ahead of schedule.

“The contractor hopes to pour the deck this spring and have the bridge open to traffic this fall,” Slack said, adding “we must be conservative when scheduling construction contracts for bridges – especially low-water structures like this one. They are very weather dependent.”

Crews had to deal with very few days of high water, Slack noted.

The project aims to improve the safety of the bridge by providing a wider crossing with low rails. The new bridge can support modern vehicles and does not require a weight-limit restriction.

VDOT awarded the $2.11 million contract in May 2016 to Orders Construction Co., of St. Albans, West Virginia.

The project covers 0.2 miles approximately a half-mile east of Artz Road and U.S. 11. The current structure made of concrete slabs stretches 293 feet and is 16 feet wide without a side railing. The new bridge retains the single travel lane with a 20-inch, low-profile railing. The new, 19-foot-wide structure uses pre-stressed slabs and stretches 300 feet across the river.

The new bridge is downstream from the existing structure with a higher grade to reduce the frequency of the river overtopping the crossing during high-water events.

VDOT calculated that an average of 174 vehicles used Artz Road each day in 2012. VDOT estimates the road would see 200 vehicles per day on average by 2026.

VDOT approved the project plan in the summer 2014; obtained land in the fall of 2014 and advertised for bids for the project in late 2015.

The existing bridge remained in service during construction with flaggers controlling lane closures.

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