The bridges at Prince William are awaiting repair

In a statement on the state of the Union on Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke of his administration’s commitment to repairing and rebuilding wobbly bridges as part of a bipartisan infrastructure bill he signed last year, but mostly the state will soon decide how to start spending new money on bridges. . .

This article was written by WTOP news partner InsideNoVa.com and reissued with permission. Subscribe to Free subscription via InsideNoVa.com email today.

In a statement on the state of the Union on Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke of his administration’s commitment to repairing and rebuilding wobbly bridges as part of a bipartisan infrastructure bill he signed last year, but mostly the state will soon decide how to start spending new money on bridges. . .

Based on increased federal funding, the Commonwealth is expected to receive about $ 7.7 billion over the next five years, about 33% more annually than in previous years. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation will distribute more than $ 15 billion in grants through its new bridge investment program for economically significant bridges. Grants will be available for major projects or for smaller bridge projects brought together.

“This year we will begin repairing 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair,” Biden said Tuesday night.

County and regional transportation officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation have been unable to identify specific bridges in Prince William County that may be a priority for funding. However, in 2021, the Federal Highway Administration found three county bridges in “poor” condition during the latest inspections, which take place every other year for most bridges. Estimates, which may be good, fair or bad, do not speak to the overall safety of the bridge, but may instead represent current maintenance problems, deterioration or other problems. If the bridge is considered dangerous, it is immediately closed for repairs.

According to the VDOT database, one of those in poor condition was the bridge on Southern Highway 95 across Neabska Creek, which has had problems for years. Significant repairs were made to the bridge just five years ago after a hole the size of a soccer ball was found during an inspection. After attempts to patch the hole failed, it took further work to knock out three sections of the bridge and replace the fittings, closing the southern lanes for the weekend.

When it was announced that Virginia would cut funding to repair the bridge, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Tim Kane – who worked closely during talks to pass the bill through the Senate – issued a joint press release saying the focus would be on bridges that received this “poor” inspection rating.

“We are pleased to announce this record amount of funding for the repair of obsolete bridges across Virginia,” said a statement from Democratic senators. “Modernizing bridges will increase security and support economic growth in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Two other VDOT bridges in Prince William have already been funded for the work. On the Stafford-Prince William County line, the four-lane bridge at US 1 across Chopavamsik Creek has been designated by the state as structurally deficient. It is planned to demolish it and build a new bridge at the end of next year, the total cost of which is more than $ 8 million.

Similarly, the development and design of projects to restore the northern and southern bridges I-95 across Powell Creek began. The bridges were originally built in 1963, in the 1970s in need of repair, and then were expanded in 1981 and 1996. Now the state plans to repair steel beams, concrete supports and supports. The cost is expected to be more than $ 9.1 million, and construction is scheduled to begin next year.

“What we don’t want in Virginia is what happened in Pittsburgh [where a bridge collapsed in January]”Warner said at a recent event in Arlington, where local officials are asking for help in repairing two dilapidated bridges on Mount Vernon Avenue and West Gleb Road. “The help goes to additional funding.”

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