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Public hearing set for bridge

Paula Jones

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has scheduled a design public hearing on Oct. 15 regarding the replacement of the Route 621 Brook Hill Road bridge.

The hearing, to be held from 4-6 p.m. at Cumberland County High School, will allow citizens to give input on the proposed bridge replacement and construction of necessary approaches.

“This is an opportunity to provide VDOT with any comments or suggestions and we hope citizens will give their input on this local project,” said Lynchburg District VDOT Communications Manager Paula Jones.

“The existing bridge is a lightly constructed steel Pratt truss bridge with a timber deck and was built in the year 1900,” Jones added. “The bridge has well outlived its design service life, approximately 50 years, and is now in poor condition.”

According to Jones, the current bridge is load posted to carry only 5 tons — not much more than the weight of an average SUV or half-ton pickup truck carrying a load.

“Due to its age and condition the bridge must now be monitored, inspected and maintained much more often and needs to be replaced,” Jones said.

The proposed new bridge according to Jones will be a prefabricated galvanized steel truss measuring 167 feet long. The bridge will have a 24 feet wide concrete deck with a 22 feet clear roadway width.

The bridge, to be constructed on the existing alignment, will be closed to through traffic during construction. As a result, the posted detour stands at approximately 14 miles.

The cost of the project is estimated at $4 million. Jones cited that, assuming the project’s design will be adopted in November, the bridge will be advertised for construction in July 2021 and construction will be completed in December 2022.

Jones stated that the county will see many benefits from the bridge’s replacement.

“The big thing is removal of a one-lane bridge in poor condition and posted for five tons from the state inventory, and the construction of a two-lane bridge with no weight/posting restrictions with a design service life of 75 years minimum. The new two-lane bridge will in all likelihood serve the traveling public at least as long as the existing bridge and most likely longer,” Jones said.

Community members interested in providing input on the bridge can submit comments at the hearing or via email by Oct. 25. Comments can be sent to Project Manager Vincent Mayberry at vincent.mayberry@ vdot.virginia.gov using “Route 621 Public Hearing Comments” as the subject line. Mayberry can also be reached at (434) 856 8289.