by Audrey Thomasson
WHITE STONE—Drivers crossing the Robert O. Norris Jr. Memorial Bridge are encountering delays of up to 15-minutes as spot structural steel repairs are made.
While the planned repairs have been in the works for several years, finding the $1.1 million in funding resulted in a late start, reported Virginia Department of Transportation Fredericksburg District communications manager Kelly Hannon. The structural repairs are expected to be completed in November.
“We wanted to schedule this routine maintenance work to occur now to minimize traffic impacts while Route 3 is already reduced to a single lane at the bridge’s center spans for the painting work,” said Hannon.
McLean Contracting Company of Glen Burnie, Md., is focusing on the floor beams under the deck, portions of the girders, a seven foot piece of the deck truss and elements that contribute to the bridge’s stability, like the wind lock and diagonals.
“This structural steel repair work will replace some portions of structural steel and strengthen the steel in other locations. This work is aimed at keeping the bridge well-maintained,” she said.
While VDOT’s contract allows work to continue 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, McLean’s crew is not working during peak morning and afternoon travel times in order to avoid longer wait times on the bridge.
Steel work is scheduled for during the day on Thursday, October 5. Next week, crews will work 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday, October 9 and Tuesday, October 10, causing wait times of 15-minute intervals while heat is used to straighten steel at the entrance to the truss on the portal bracing, which was struck some time ago by a vehicle.
“All traffic queued during any 15-minute closure will be allowed to fully clear the work zone before another closure is put in place,” Hannon said.
At other times, drivers will encounter the temporary traffic signals at the center spans for the painting work. That wait time is approximately five minutes.
“The bridge’s condition has not changed. It remains in fair condition with the present condition of the deck, substructure and superstructure each at a ‘5’ score,” Hannon said.