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Charlottesville to kick off more than $10M in bridge projects

Charlottesville is preparing to start more than $10 million worth of bridge repairs throughout the city.

The city is seeking contractors for a quartet of state-funded projects and small rehabilitation work.

The majority of the projects are funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s State of Good Repair program, which is administered by local governments but doesn’t require a local match.

City officials said final budgets will be determined once bids are received, but VDOT documents estimate they will cost about $10.2 million combined.

The city’s development services manager, Tony Edwards, said the work generally includes replacing concrete decks, repairing steel beams, surface repairs, expansion joint replacement and erosion and drainage repairs.

Three of the VDOT-funded projects are for bridges on the U.S. 250 Bypass.

The first is for the bridge over Rugby Avenue near McIntire Park. That project is estimated to cost $2.6 million.

The second project is just down the road at the bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad, with an estimated price tag of $1.6 million.

The third, and most expensive, is the bridge over U.S. 29 Business, estimated at $3.4 million.

The fourth project in the VDOT-funded bundle is on Melbourne Road over the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which is near Charlottesville High School. The work is estimated to cost $2.5 million.

On Melbourne Road, the single lane closure required for phased construction of deck replacement will only occur in the summer while CHS is not in session. Because of the unknown effect the coronavirus pandemic could have on the academic calendar, the construction timeframe could change.

The size of the bridges will not change. However, workers will be able to expand sidewalks on Melbourne Road as part of the work.

The bridges were built between 1954 and 1974 and typically have a lifespan of 50 to 70 years, depending on environmental factors.

Edwards said the spans are designated “structurally deficient.” According to the Federal Highway Administration, the designation means the bridges must be monitored, inspected and maintained. It does not imply they are likely to collapse or are unsafe.

Edwards said the work will upgrade the bridges from the deficient status.

Bids will be accepted through Oct. 19. Construction is expected to start Nov. 2 and be mostly completed in about 18 months.

The city also is seeking proposals for stream and bridge remediation work under a small span that’s easy to miss on McIntire Road. The bridge is near the intersection of Harris Street and carries the road over Schenks Branch.

The project involves erosion counter-measures because the flow of the stream is directing water at one of the abutments. Traffic will see minimal impacts as most of the work will occur under the bridge.

A cost estimate wasn’t available for the project.

Bids are being accepted through Oct. 19, with construction expected to start Nov. 2 and be mostly completed by Dec. 21.


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