LaTina W. Bundy 540-899-4560
Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344
June 14, 2011
COURTHOUSE ROAD BRIDGE OPENS TO TRAFFIC
Railroad overpass in Stafford County enhances travel for motorists, rail passengers
FREDERICKSBURG—A new bridge spanning railroad tracks that cross Courthouse Road (Route 630) in Stafford County will open today, three months ahead of schedule.
It replaces a 94-year-old, single-lane bridge built by RF&P Railroad in 1917.
The new structure, named Mingles Hill Bridge, has dual advantages. It provides a safe, modern overpass for motorists with 12-foot travel lanes and 8-foot shoulders, with no weight restrictions. The 1917 bridge had a posted 15-ton weight limit, which restricted the types of vehicles and loads that could be carried across the structure. Public safety vehicles of all weights can now respond east of the bridge during emergencies.
Rail passengers traveling beneath the bridge will also benefit, making this a project of multi-modal significance.
The bridge has a 23-foot clearance over the CSX Corp. railroad tracks below. Previously, when a double-decker passenger train passed below the 1917 bridge, the distance between the bridge and the train could sometimes be measured in mere inches, rather than feet.
The new bridge span was designed to allow enough clearance for future construction of a third railroad track, expected to boost the number of trains carrying passengers and freight cargo.
“This bridge accomplishes more than connecting one side of Courthouse Road with the other. It will help rail travel flourish in Virginia, moving more people and goods through our state by train, which takes traffic off our interstates and primary roads,” said Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Cord Sterling, a member of the Stafford Board of Supervisors.
“Investing in new rail capacity promotes economic development by attracting commerce to this corridor, delivering more job opportunities for Virginians,” Sterling said.
Work on the project is several months ahead of the original September 2011 completion date. Construction began in summer 2010.
The former bridge was left open to traffic while the new bridge was built, allowing for minimal disruption to travel during construction.
The existing bridge carries several thousand vehicles a day. By 2019, it is anticipated to carry more than 11,000 vehicles a day.
Abernathy Construction Corp. of Glen Allen, Va., built this project, accomplished using federal funds. The project’s total cost is approximately $7.1 million.
The 1917 bridge will be demolished over the next several weeks using a closely monitored engineering removal process. Close coordination with CSX Corp. is planned to schedule this activity around active freight and passenger rail traffic.
Naming the bridge for Mingles Hill was supported by the Stafford County Historical Commission. A petition signed by 44 area residents asked that the bridge be given this name, since generations of residents have referred to a hill leading to the bridge as Mingles Hill.
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