Temporary weight limit lifted on Norris Bridge

FREDERICKSBURG—The temporary 3-ton vehicle weight limit has been lifted at the Robert O. Norris Jr. Memorial Bridge over the Rappahannock River after a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) bridge inspection team completed a thorough inspection of the bridge’s key support elements and found the structure to be safe to carry vehicles of all legal weights.

 While the two-day inspection did not result in a finding of any safety concerns, VDOT bridge inspectors will be on the bridge next week to monitor and observe the structure as an additional precaution when the paving operation resumes work on Tuesday, August 21, to replace the Norris Bridge travel surface.

“We are grateful for the community’s patience over the past 48 hours while we fully investigated the safety concern that was brought forward by a member of our VDOT construction team,” said Marcie Parker, P.E., VDOT Fredericksburg District Administrator. “While our inspection found that all of the key support elements on the bridge are sound, and do not require repair, we will have bridge staff present during paving work on Tuesday to watch and listen for any concerns.”

 “We appreciate every driver who cooperated with the temporary lowering of this weight limit and endured a much longer ride as a result. Keeping travelers safe is our number one job, and we will always do what it takes to ensure we live up to this commitment,” Parker said.

 The bridge’s previous weight limit of 45 tons has been restored, effective immediately. Message boards and detour signs are being removed on primary routes across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula leading to the Norris Bridge, which carries Route 3 between Lancaster and Middlesex counties.

During a milling and paving operation on the bridge Wednesday, a VDOT construction inspector reported an abnormal sound that potentially indicated a safety concern with a bridge element. VDOT lowered the vehicle weight limit to 3 tons for motorist safety on Wednesday evening while it inspected the bridge.

Route 3 was reduced to a single lane on Norris Bridge. Traffic was stopped on each bridge approach in Lancaster and Middlesex counties. A pilot vehicle was used to guide one-way, alternating traffic across the structure.

 Route 3 will remain reduced to a single lane on the bridge. On Saturday, milling work will resume. Milling will also continue on Sunday evening and Monday.