VDOT News - Fredericksburg


IMMEDIATE - 10 p.m.

Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344


Aug. 15, 2018

Weight limit is temporarily reduced for public safety while Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) bridge inspectors check structure for potential damage

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The vehicle weight limit on the Robert O. Norris Bridge over the Rappahannock River between Lancaster and Middlesex counties is being reduced to 3 tons effective immediately for motorist safety while Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) bridge inspectors check the structure for damage.

During a milling and paving operation on the bridge today, a VDOT construction inspector reported an abnormal sound that could potentially indicate a safety concern with a bridge element. A team of VDOT bridge inspectors will begin an inspection tomorrow morning to ensure all bridge elements are safe.

Most emergency vehicles, including ambulances, are permitted to continue crossing the bridge.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people crossing the bridge. We regret this inconvenience for drivers of heavier weight vehicles, who we know will have a significantly longer trip between the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. However, we have a responsibility to protect the public and thoroughly investigate this concern out of an abundance of caution,” said Marcie Parker, P.E., VDOT Fredericksburg District Administrator.

Message boards notifying motorists of the detour route are posted at key decision points for drivers along the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to let travelers determine the most convenient alternate route.

Detour signs are being posted on the official detour route, which is Route 3 to the Downing Bridge on Route 360 over the Rappahannock River at Tappahannock, and Route 17.

Norris Bridge Background

The Robert O. Norris Bridge was built in 1957. It underwent a major rehabilitation in 1996.

The bridge is 9,988 feet long and 25.9 feet wide. It is a steel truss bridge.

An average of 8,208 vehicles cross Norris Bridge each day on weekdays, and an average of 6,326 vehicles cross the bridge each day on weekends, according to a 2017 traffic count.

All state-maintained bridges in Virginia are inspected at least once every two years. The Robert O. Norris Bridge on Route 3 over the Rappahannock River receives a full inspection of all bridge elements once every two years. During its last full inspection in October 2016, it received a score of fair, which is a score of 5 on a 0-9 national bridge inspection scale.

Additionally, on an annual basis, VDOT inspects fracture-critical elements on Norris Bridge. Norris Bridge is a fracture-critical bridge, which means that this bridge was designed with key elements that do not have any additional supporting elements, and need more frequent inspection. Norris Bridge received its annual fracture critical inspection in October 2017.

Real-time updates to the weight posting status of Norris Bridge will be available on www.511Virginia.org and www.VirginiaDOT.org.


VDOT’s 14-county Fredericksburg District includes the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford in the Fredericksburg area; Northumberland, Richmond, Lancaster and Westmoreland counties in the Northern Neck; Essex, Gloucester, King & Queen, King William, Mathews and Middlesex counties in the Middle Peninsula.

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: Aug. 16, 2018