Bridge project complete

Published 11:18 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

After more than a year of construction, a bridge replacement project on Route 40 crossing Louse Creek has been completed.

According to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokeswoman Paula K. Jones, the bridge replacement was done without added capacity, meaning there were no additional lanes added.

“This was an older, narrow structure and it was replaced with a bridge built to today’s standards,” she said.

Jones said the new bridge structure is wider and includes higher rails than the old bridge.

The bridge is located just west of Phenix.

“We are pleased with the way this project turned out,” said VDOT Resident Engineer Scot Shippee. “The project was on time and under budget.”

Jones said the project first started in April 2016 and concluded in July. She said the total cost estimated for preliminary engineering, right of way and construction was about $5.6 million.

Aspen/Phenix Supervisor Haywood Hamlet said he advocated for the project as he attended VDOT Six Year Improvement Plan hearings for about 15 years.

He said the project was able to get on the plan twice, but kept getting bumped down until last year.

“A lot of credit belongs to Ms. (Shannon) Valentine,” he said.

Valentine currently serves as the Lynchburg District representative on the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board.

According to Hamlet, he showed Valentine the condition of the bridge and she agreed something needed to be done.

He said the old bridge was dangerous, noting several log trucks and school buses used the narrow bridge.

According to VDOT’s website, the agency “has an aggressive bridge inspection and safety program which goes beyond federal requirements.”

A ribbon cutting is projected to be held this month.