Mid-September completion eyed for Criser Road bridge

Oscar Morales, a carpenter for Archer Western of Atlanta, measures a board at the construction site for the new Criser Road bridge in Front Royal on Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Although the town hoped completion of the new Criser Road bridge would coincide with the beginning of school, Town Engineer Robert Brown said poor weather delayed that possibility.

“They’ve been having to deal with not just the rain but also the elevated water level in the creek,” he said. “We knew that we wouldn’t be able to get it done unless we got perfect weather.”

Brown said before the heavy rains began, the Chevy Chase, Maryland-based Archer Construction was several weeks ahead of schedule on the $986,075 bridge replacement.

Of those costs, the Virginia Department of Transportation is funding $225,000.

He noted that the contract between the town and Archer Construction stipulates that the bridge will be  completed by Oct. 2. He said crews are still ahead of that pace and, “optimistically,” the bridge will open by mid-September.

“We appreciate everybody’s patience on this. We’ll get it open as soon as possible,” Brown said.

He said crews are installing footers and abutments on the Remount Road side of the bridge and the same should be done next on the Criser Road side. If that goes well, he said concrete panels should be laid just after Labor Day.

Other work completed since construction began in June includes the demolition of the old bridge, the relocation of a water line, installation of micro piles and excavation for footings.

Brown said the new bridge would be wider, with two 12-foot-wide lanes. It will also be slightly higher and include a sidewalk. He added that the new bridge should not flood nearly as much. Other updates include additional curbs and gutters.

According to previous reports, the old bridge flooded about every 10 years while the replacement should flood about every 25 years.