Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344

LaTina W. Bundy 540-899-4560


May 5, 2014

Bridge at Stafford, Fredericksburg line over Rappahannock River will be posted at 21 tons for single-unit vehicles, and 26 tons for tractor-trailers

FREDERICKSBURG – A weight limit will be posted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for heavy vehicles crossing the Chatham Bridge on Route 3 Business (Kings Highway) between Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg.


Once posted, the maximum weight for single-unit vehicles crossing the bridge is 21 tons. The maximum weight for tractor-trailers is 26 tons.


Previously, vehicles crossing the Chatham Bridge had to comply only with the statewide maximum weight limit for all bridges and structures, which is 27 tons for a single-unit truck, and 40 tons for tractor-trailers.


Signs have been ordered that will communicate the weight restriction on the bridge to motorists. Signs are expected to arrive and be posted by Friday, May 16.


“As VDOT prepares to replace or rehabilitate the Chatham Bridge, this weight limit will reduce the amount of stress being placed on the crossing by larger loads,” said Annette Adams, P.E., VDOT District Structure and Bridge Engineer. “We regret that the restrictions will inconvenience a small number of drivers, who must take an alternate route. However, we felt this was the recommended step to keep the bridge in serviceable condition while we develop plans for a new structure.”


A scheduled annual inspection of the bridge found continued deterioration of the bridge’s main steel beams. VDOT conducted an additional structural analysis, which studies how much stress a bridge can accommodate from different load weights. The analysis concluded that a bridge posting was recommended to limit the weight from loads crossing the bridge.


An average of 14,000 vehicles a day cross the Chatham Bridge, which was built in 1941. It is a

10-span structural steel bridge, with asphalt pavement over a concrete deck. The bridge is 1,006 feet long and 40 feet wide between curbs.


Additional information about VDOT’s bridge inspection program and individual bridge conditions are posted online at at:



Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: May 5, 2014