MOUNT JACKSON – Town Council members are asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to alter some of its plans for the replacement bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River along Route 11 heading into town.
On Tuesday evening, Vice Mayor Rod Shepherd said he was impressed with the planning that has gone into the replacement bridge to this point. He attended a public hearing and information session hosted by VDOT earlier this month and spoke with some of the project leaders.
“This is our gateway to Mount Jackson. Route 11, the valley turnpike, is a very historic road,” Shepherd said. “And we’d like to have a nice bridge to complement Route 11.”
Overall, Shepherd said, the replacement bridge was well thought out. One shortcoming, he said, was the lack of a sidewalk along the bridge. Architectural drawings the town produced in 2013 included plans for a sidewalk along a replacement bridge, according to the resolution.
The resolution council members approved Tuesday evening requested that VDOT amend its plans to include a sidewalk.
“There really should be a sidewalk on that bridge,” Shepherd said. “It just needs to be there.”
Shepherd said he, in a personal capacity, had discussed the possibility of VDOT helping the town create a path down to the river and construction of a boat launch.
That project, Shepherd said, would require some more hoops for town staff to jump through but he said he thought it would serve as a good tourism draw for the town.
The comment period on the project ended Saturday, Shepherd said, but a deadline for the town was extended through Tuesday’s meeting to allow the council to vote on its resolution.