City council clears hurdle in bridge replacement

WAYNESBORO-Work on the $9.3 million replacement of Waynesboro’s Main Street Bridge is not scheduled to start until 2016, but the Waynesboro City Council cleared a bureaucratic hurdle on the project Monday when it approved a resolution.

The council passed a resolution approving the November 2012 location and design public hearing, where exhibits on the project were presented, and city residents had the opportunity to comment to city and VDOT officials.

Waynesboro City Council was given a memo prior to Monday’s meeting and told that VDOT had completed significant design work on the project. The memo also explained that a resolution from council on the 2012 design hearing was needed for VDOT to proceed with right-of-way acquisition.

When the 18 months of work is done, the new bridge will include a six-foot wide bicycle lane on both sides, 12-foot paved travel lanes and pedestrian access and the relocation of McElroy Street to the west. The Main Street Bridge was originally constructed over the South River in 1934.

Both VDOT and the city say the bridge is being replaced because of its importance to the city, and because serious work needs to be done.

Deputy Waynesboro City Manager Jim Shaw said the bridge’s declining condition has been noted during regular inspections of it.

Engineer Keith Harrop, the designer of the bridge and the project manager for VDOT, said the belief is that “temporary repairs won’t keep up with the deterioration” of the current bridge.

And he said traffic projections are that the cars crossing the bridge will incease to about 8,300 per day by 2037. When a traffic count was done in 2012, Harrop said 5,919 cars a day crossed the bridge.

The city of Waynesboro is contributing a 2 percent match for the project. Harrop said the remainder of funding would come through VDOT’s six-year plan, with the bulk of the funds coming from bridge replacement funding.

The expectation when the new bridge is complete is that it would have a useful life of 75 to 100 years, Harrop said. The new structure’s longer life will result in part from a better design and a higher grade of steel.

The new bridge’s deck will require ongoing maintenance because of the “constant wear,” Harrop said.

Reprinted from the January 14, 2014 News Virginian