Study: New Norris Bridge is ‘optimal’ solution

by Audrey Thomasson

FREDERICKSBURG—The Robert O. Norris Jr. Memorial Bridge is among the 40% of America’s 614,387 bridges that are 50 years or older. In fact, the two-mile-long bridge is entering its seventh decade of connecting the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula across the Rappahannock River.

Partial or total replacement of the bridge will be extremely costly, according to a just-released concept study by AECOM Technical Services Inc. for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The study developed and evaluated seven concepts related to the bridge’s future. AECOM presented two superstructure replacement alternatives as being feasible, both of which would require bridge closures, ranging from 15 days to 4 years. A third alternative, a completely new bridge, would cost $91 million less than one of the superstructure replacement plans and was said to offer “the most optimal balance of costs and user impacts during construction.”

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