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Floodwaters force closure of Morgan Ford bridge

The new Morgan Ford bridge, which opened to traffic in January, will remain closed through at least Friday due to damage incurred after recent high waters.

Ed Carter, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Edinburg district administrator, said the high water caused an estimated $66,000 in damage to the roads leading to the bridge. He said the bridge itself, however, experienced no damage.

Still, he said the damage is “as bad as we’ve seen in quite some years.”

Carter said the most notable damage occurred just south of the bridge on Howellsville Road, where floodwaters rose and washed away a portion of pavement. He added that sediment holding up wooden guardrails was washed out, which caused the rails to partially collapse and have the appearance of a “mini roller coaster.” Debris also washed onto the bridge, which Carter said VDOT crews should clear by Thursday.

He added that a contractor should arrive today to stabilize the shoulders and they should be done by Friday, barring the discovery of any additional problems. The damage comes just as a Monday ribbon cutting was scheduled to celebrate the completion of all bridge-related construction, which included improvements to the roads.

Carter said that ribbon cutting “obviously is going to be postponed” because “we want everything back in its place before we go down there and have a ceremony.” 

Supervisor Chairman Tony Carter said there seems to be a misunderstanding among some citizens that the new bridge was going to be “flood proof.” He explained it was merely intended to reduce the frequency at which flooding occurs.

Ed Carter seconded that, adding that the old bridge may have remained underwater for weeks in a similar rainfall. He noted that many other bridges in the Edinburg District were recently closed due to the weather. They include the Archer River and Deer Rapids bridges, both of which were covered with debris and have since reopened. Meanwhile, the Hollingsworth and Lupton bridges in Woodstock remained covered in water as of Wednesday afternoon.

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