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New bridge would cost $10.2M

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

The Virginia Department of Transportation proposes a new design and location for replacing the aging J.P. Carrico Memorial truss bridge on Virginia 94.

Representative from VDOT were on hand Tuesday during a public hearing to give citizens an opportunity to offer comments or submit written material concerning the proposed construction.

The new bridge will replace the 81-year-old J.P. Carrico Memorial truss bridge over the New River.

According to drawings, the new bridge will be shifted downstream about 300 feet — allowing two curves on the existing roadway to be taken out.

Drivers crossing the bridge from either end now must drive through substantially sharp curves. The new bridge will be a straight shot across the New River.

The bridge will also feature a different look. Instead of a large truss bridge with all the framework overhead, it will be flat with six piers holding the structure up and will look similar to the new bridge built over Route 100 in Carroll County — but without the curve.

VDOT Spokeswoman Michelle Earl said seven citizens attended the meeting Tuesday at Baywood Elementary.

“The biggest concern [raised] was if the improvements would bring about speeding in the area,” Earl said. “Secondly, people were interested in what was going to happen to the bridge that is currently standing.”

Earl added that a local man has expressed interest in taking the old bridge. She was unsure what the man's plans were, but he would be required to maintain the bridge for a set amount of time.

“That keeps people from taking the bridge and selling it for scrap metal or something,” Earl said.

In an effort to preserve the historic bridge, VDOT representatives sought written expressions of interest from individuals, organizations and/or government agencies interested in relocating, preserving and assuming ownership and responsibility for the bridge.

The bridge — which is recommended eligible for the National Register of Historic Places — was built in 1927, is 912.8 feet long and 27.4 feet wide.

VDOT is offering a one-time monetary incentive to take the bridge, not to exceed the cost of demolition, which the Federal Highway Administration has set at $267,000.

“Basically we will give someone $267,000 to go towards moving the bridge,” said Earl. “Anything above that will be the responsibility of the new owner.”

According to VDOT, the average daily volume of traffic on Virginia 94 was 2,370 vehicles per day in 1999. VDOT expects that volume to increase to 3,200 vehicles per day by 2025.

The total cost for the new bridge is $10.2 million. Of that total, $451,269 has been set aside for preliminary engineering; $205,000 for right of way, utilities; and $9.2 million for construction.

Funding for this project will be 20 percent state funds and 80 percent federal.

VDOT representatives provided a timeline for events on Tuesday. Once the 10-day comment period closes, VDOT and consultants will review and evaluate the information received. After review by VDOT staff, the project will be presented to VDOT Chief Engineer Malcolm T. Kerley for consideration to approve the major design features.

If the project design is approved, the project will proceed to the right of way stage.

The right of way process is anticipated to begin late this year. This time frame also includes the utility relocation process.

After the rights of way and easements needed for construction are acquired, the project will be sent to bid in mid-2010, with construction beginning shortly thereafter.

Construction of the project should be completed within 12 months.