Coming Soon: Route 3 Business (Chatham Bridge) Bridge Superstructure Replacement
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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is preparing to rehabilitate the Route 3 Business bridge over the Rappahannock River, also known as Chatham Bridge, which is a main connection between Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg.
A $23.4 million rehabilitation project will require Chatham Bridge to close to all traffic for approximately 16-18 months. The bridge closure is anticipated to begin as soon as late May 2020, and remain in place for an anticipated 16-18 months. Weather conditions during the project may affect this estimated schedule. Financial incentives will be included in the contract to encourage completion of the project in the 16-month timeframe.
What Will the Project Accomplish?
Repairs are needed to improve the condition of Chatham Bridge, which carries around 16,000 vehicles a day. Virginia’s State of Good Repair program is funding this project, as the bridge has been identified in need of significant maintenance. When work is complete, the project will make it safer and easier for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to cross the structure.
Weight restrictions for vehicle traffic will be removed at the end of the project. The Chatham Bridge currently has a weight posting of 21 tons for single-unit trucks and 26 tons for tractor-trailers, which prevents heavier-weight emergency service vehicles from crossing the river, as well as some commercial delivery trucks.
Benefits of the project include:
- A smoother concrete travel surface, which will be installed over new steel bridge girders. Repairs will be made to the bridge approaches and substructure, which supports the bridge deck and travel surface.
- A shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists along the bridge’s downstream side. Click here to watch an online simulation video featuring the improved bridge and new path. The new path will be nearly 10 feet wide, and a barrier will separate vehicle traffic from the path. The bridge path will connect with the planned Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford County and with sidewalks in the City of Fredericksburg’s downtown area. Path users can stop at a scenic overlook halfway across the bridge. (NOTE: Since the simulation video was created in 2017, it does not show the scenic overlook, which was added later in the project. Click here to see a project design sheet showing the location of the overlook, which will be approximately 3 feet wide and 25 feet long.)
- Lightposts will be replaced along the bridge to match existing lightposts in the downtown Fredericksburg area, and the replacement concrete bridge rail will retain the existing open-view appearance.
Detour Route Improvements Complete at Dixon Street Ramp
Improvements have been completed in advance along the signed detour route, which will be the Blue & Gray Parkway and Dixon Street. These improvements will remain in place after the project is complete.
Click here to see an online map of the detour route. Vehicles taller than 13 feet, 6 inches will not be able to pass beneath the railroad overpass along the detour route. These vehicles will continue on Blue & Gray Parkway to William Street to access the downtown area.
During fall 2019, VDOT installed signs along the detour route. The signs will remain covered until the Chatham Bridge closes to traffic. VDOT also built an additional left turn lane to provide more storage for vehicles turning left onto Dixon Street from the Blue & Gray Parkway. This will keep the right turn lane accessible for vehicles using the detour to downtown Fredericksburg. This new lane opened to traffic in January 2020.
Once the project begins, traffic signal timing will be adjusted by VDOT and the City of Fredericksburg’s Department of Public Works to respond to increased traffic demand along the detour route and along Route 1 near the Falmouth Bridge.
Congestion will be closely monitored once the detour is underway. Signal timing adjustments will be made to keep traffic moving.
Route 1 and Princess Avenue Street Intersection Restrictions
Restrictions will be in place at the Route 1 and Princess Anne Street intersection in Fredericksburg while Chatham Bridge is closed.
With additional traffic expected to use Route 1 northbound and southbound during the Chatham Bridge closure, the following changes will be in effect:
- Hanson Avenue traffic approaching the Route 1 intersection will be limited to right turns onto Route 1 southbound only. Hanson Avenue traffic will be prohibited from proceeding straight across the intersection to Princess Anne Street or making a left turn to Route 1 northbound. Instead, Hanson Avenue traffic seeking to reach Princess Anne Street or Route 1 northbound will be detoured to Germania Street, where there is an existing traffic signal.
- A new traffic signal will be added at the Princess Anne Street ramp to Route 1 northbound for traffic entering Route 1 northbound. The signal will allow for free-flowing right turns onto Route 1 northbound from Princess Anne Street during a green signal.
- Route 1 northbound traffic will be prohibited from turning left onto Hanson Avenue.
As the start of the project draws closer, VDOT will share specific, confirmed dates for the Chatham Bridge closure. A “Pardon Our Dust” public meeting on the project will be scheduled before construction begins.
VDOT will coordinate with the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County on efforts to promote the detour route and help residents, businesses and visitors continue to successfully reach their destination during this project.
- New path to be built on bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists, separated from traffic
- Path includes scenic overlook area
- Improves bridge condition with smoother ride for travelers
Byrd Holloway, VDOT Project Manager
Kelly Hannon, VDOT Communications Manager
Other relevant links:
Phase: Project has been advertised for construction
Lat/Long: 38.304944, -77.456417
Locality: Fredericksburg and Stafford