The wooden bridge on Dry Bridge Road (Rt. 708) that spans the CSX tracks near Morgantown Road will be replaced by a 28-foot- wide modern structure sometime in 2014, according to Brian Arnold, VDOT project manager for the Culpeper district, who hosted a sparsely attended public hearing on the project at Murray Elementary School April 14.
The new bridge will have 10-foot wide lanes. The current bridge is 16 feet wide. A 2008 count showed that 988 cars cross it in a day.
Pairs of piers on both sides of the track will support a three-span structure of concrete box girders that will cross the rails six feet higher than the current bridge. Its total length will be 55 feet.
The road connections to the bridge will be widened to 10 feet per lane as well, plus four feet of paved shoulder. All approaches will have guard rails. The bridge’s sides will be short concrete walls with three steel rails above.
“It’s not complicated,” said the bridge’s engineer, T. Michael Harris.
The current bridge, built in 1932 and owned by the railroad, has a load limit of 8 tons. The new bridge will be rated “legal load,” meaning it will capable of carrying tractor trailer loads of up to 40 tons. And it will also be owned by the state.
Nine easements are needed for the project. Arnold said he expects the job to be advertised within nine months, to start construction in the summer of 2013 and to be done in 2014.
The detour during construction will be via Broad Axe Road (Route 682) and Gillums Ridge Road (Route 787).
Construction will have to be monitored by a railroad dispatcher so bridge workers are kept aware of train movements, noted VDOT’s Lou Hatter. Buckingham Branch Railroad will put a flagman at the job.
The replacement project has been in the works since 2003. The federal government will reimburse the state for 80 percent of whatever the bridge costs.
Hatter said the bridge over the railroad at Broomley Road also needs replacement.