Morgan Ford Bridge to open to traffic Monday

FRONT ROYAL – The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to open the new Morgan Ford Bridge in Warren County on Monday.

VDOT began to detour traffic using Morgan Ford Road between Howellsville Road and Fairgrounds Road in April 2016. VDOT plans to lift the detours mid-morning Monday, according to a news release issued Friday. But VDOT advised motorists that construction on the project will continue through the late spring.

Drivers can still expect single-lane traffic and flagging operations as needed as contractors work to complete the project. Work includes applying the final layer of asphalt on the bridge approaches, grading and seeding on both sides of the crossing and the construction of a parking area on the south side of the Shenandoah River. Crews intend to work generally Monday through Friday so motorists should plan for potential delays and remain alert as they travel through the work zone.

Truck and tractor-trailer drivers should continue to use alternate routes as a restriction on vehicles longer than 30 feet remains in effect for this section of the route once crews complete the project.

Crews faced but overcame some hurdles during the construction of the project, VDOT spokesman Ken Slack stated in an email Friday. A delay in the manufacturing of the bridge beams occurred over the summer but crews performed other work in the meantime. High water also forced workers to wait to resume construction. However, contractors didn’t need to worry about vehicles traveling through the work zone since they closed the entire road for the project, Slack stated in the email.

The new bridge as designed supports all legal loads. VDOT imposed the 30-foot truck-length limit for the road and bridge in 2012.

VDOT awarded a $4.88 million contract on Jan. 29, 2016 to Orders Construction Company Inc., of Saint Albans, West Virginia. The contract calls for Orders to complete the project by June 1, 2018.

The project called for the replacement of the low-water bridge over the Shenandoah River on Morgan Ford Road with a new, two-lane crossing in the area of Howellsville Road. The new bridge spans 0.38 miles and the project includes improvements to the approaches on Morgan Ford Road.

The Virginia Outdoor Foundation and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hold easements on the north and south sides of the bridge, respectively.

The original crossing built in 1925 consisted of a single lane stretching 321 feet long and 11 feet wide. The new bridge spans 480 feet long and provides a 22-foot-wide travel space. The approaches on both sides of the bridge consist of a paved road between 22 and 24-feet wide with ditches where needed.

The new bridge does not provide space for a sidewalk or bicycle lanes. However, the bridge has no restrictions on pedestrians or bicyclists using the crossing.

VDOT data showed an average of 1,876 vehicles crossed the bridge per day in 2012. VDOT estimates that number to increase to 3,005 by 2035.

During the design phase, VDOT estimated the project would cost approximately $9.7 million, including $7.8 million for construction.

Visit http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/warren_county_8211_route_624.asp for more information, including questions and answers, about the project.