VDOT News - Fredericksburg


IMMEDIATE - 5 p.m.

Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344


Aug. 16, 2018

Vehicle weight limit on bridge will remain posted at 3 tons overnight into Friday, Aug. 17 while bridge inspectors continue to check structure for potential damage

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The 3-ton posted vehicle weight limit on the Robert O. Norris Bridge over the Rappahannock River between Lancaster and Middlesex counties will remain on the bridge through Friday, Aug. 17.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) bridge inspectors will continue to check the structure for potential damage for a second day on Friday. The bridge safety inspectors performed visual inspections of the critical elements closest to the area of concern today, including gusset plates, bearings, and main bridge truss elements.

Tomorrow, bridge safety inspectors will review beams and adjacent spans below and above the bridge deck.

Passenger vehicles, light duty pickup trucks and ambulances are permitted to cross the Norris Bridge. Virginia State Police are stationed at each bridge approach to enforce the 3-ton weight restriction.

Message boards notifying motorists of the detour route for heavier-weight vehicles are posted at key decision points for drivers across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

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

Drivers can expect delays tonight and tomorrow crossing Norris Bridge. Route 3 is reduced to a single lane on the bridge. Traffic is being stopped on each bridge approach in Lancaster and Middlesex, and a pilot vehicle is guiding vehicles to alternate crossing the bridge.

During a milling and paving operation on the bridge Wednesday, a VDOT construction inspector reported an abnormal sound that could potentially indicate a safety concern with a bridge element. The vehicle weight limit lowered to 3 tons for motorist safety while VDOT investigated the concern. On Thursday, a team of inspectors reviewed several areas of the bridge, but additional inspection will be needed Friday to complete the review.

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