West Main extension out for bid, Criser Road Bridge coming back

FRONT ROYAL – A pair of major projects are inching forward as the town recently put out a bid for phase one of the West Main Street extension and awaits for the bid period on Criser Road Bridge to close.

The bid for construction on West Main Street was put out last week and will remain open through May 8. This phase consists of about 850 feet of road that would connect the ITFederal site to Kendrick Lane.

Town Engineer Robert Brown estimated that construction would cost about $812,000, a majority of which would be funded by a $650,000 Virginia Department of Transportation grant.

ITFederal has agreed to pay the necessary $150,000 in matching funds for the grant, and the town has $44,000 set aside to cover remaining costs.

Jennifer McDonald, Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority executive director, has cited the extension as a critical project that must be completed before ITFederal can open its building that is now under construction.

Town officials have said construction will hopefully begin this summer and should take about four months to complete.

The town will review bids for replacement of the flooding-prone Criser Road Bridge on Tuesday. This will mark the third time the town received bids for the project, and Town Manager Joe Waltz said little interest was previously shown from contractors.

Waltz said the few bids that previously came in nearly doubled engineering firm Mattern & Craig’s $600,000 estimate. He added this should be the last time the town puts the project out for bid.

If proposals come back higher than the estimated price, he said the town would have a better idea of the project’s true market value. He added that if that estimated cost is too low, the town may have to reconsider if or when to proceed with construction.

Chad Thomas, of Mattern & Craig, has said the current 25-foot-long bridge floods about every 10 years and its length must be extended to solve the issue. He said the proposed 42-foot bridge would flood about every 25 years. To avoid flooding, the bridge would need to be 50 feet long, but the price for construction of that magnitude would be too expensive.

The plans also call for the bridge to be raised slightly and include two 12-foot-wide lanes, a 3-foot-wide shoulder, and a sidewalk.