Under Construction: Route 3 Business (Chatham Bridge) Bridge Superstructure Replacement

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A major improvement project is underway on the Route 3 Business bridge over the Rappahannock River, also known as Chatham Bridge. This main connection between Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg carries around 16,000 vehicles a day. 

Chatham Bridge closed to traffic on June 22, 2020. Read the latest news release. The bridge will be closed with a detour in place through October 2021. 

Tour the Detour Route! 

Get the information you need to get around while improvements are underway. 

VDOT Chatham Bridge Detour Map

Do you drive a truck or oversize vehicle that's taller than 13 feet, 6 inches? Use the VDOT Chatham Bridge Detour Map for Vehicles Taller than 13 feet, 6 inches.

Visit the City of Fredericksburg's Chatham Bridge page at fxbgbridge.com

Visit Stafford County's road projects page at staffordcountyva.gov/roadprojects

More Project Resources

Watch the project's May 21, 2020 YouTube Live Presentation 

View the presentation slides

Read the project Frequently Asked Questions

What Will the Project Accomplish?

Virginia’s State of Good Repair program is funding this project, as the 1941 bridge needs 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 15 tons, which prevents heavier-weight emergency service vehicles from crossing the river, as well as some commercial delivery trucks.

Dixon Street Ramp Improvements in Fredericksburg

Improvements were made in advance along the signed detour route, which is Route 3 Business to Blue & Gray Parkway to Dixon Street, which leads to the downtown area.

The left turn lane on the Dixon Street exit ramp from the Blue & Gray Parkway was extended to hold a greater number of vehicles. This will improve driver access to the right turn lane, which is part of the detour route to downtown Fredericksburg. The extended left turn lane opened to traffic in January 2020, and will remain after the project is complete. 

Detour signs are installed and will remain covered until the Chatham Bridge closes to traffic.  

Traffic Signal Timing

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.

Traffic Pattern Changes at Hanson Avenue and Route 1 in Fredericksburg

During the project, there will be no access change for traffic traveling on Route 1 over Falmouth Bridge into downtown Fredericksburg. 

Vehicles on Route 1 southbound crossing Falmouth Bridge can continue to turn left onto Princess Anne Street to downtown Fredericksburg. Vehicles on Route 1 northbound can continue to turn right onto Princess Anne Street toward the downtown area. 

But, with additional traffic expected to use Route 1 and the Falmouth Bridge during the Chatham Bridge closure, the following changes will be made, which mostly affect travel on Hanson Avenue. 

Due to a city utility project on Caroline Street, VDOT has adjusted the detour plan for Hanson Avenue traffic:

Map of Route 1 at Princess Anne Street with City Utility Work 

  • Access to Caroline Street under the Falmouth Bridge is temporarily closed for the city utility project. Any northbound travelers that would have previously used Riverside Drive or Hanson Avenue to reach Route 1 north will be detoured to Fall Hill Avenue.
  • 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 Fall Hill Avenue. 
  • Route 1 northbound traffic will be prohibited from turning left onto Hanson Avenue. However, Route 1 northbound traffic at the intersection can continue to proceed straight to cross Falmouth Bridge, and turn right onto Princess Anne Street.
  • A new traffic signal will be added at the Princess Anne Street ramp to Route 1 northbound and Falmouth Bridge. The signal will allow for free-flowing right turns onto Route 1 northbound from Princess Anne Street during a green signal.

Benefits 

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 nearly 10-foot-wide path.

The new path will have a barrier separating vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The bridge path will connect with the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford County and with sidewalks in the City of Fredericksburg’s downtown area.

Path users will be able to 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.

Major Milestones 

April 2020: Commonwealth Transportation Board awards project contract

June 22, 2020: Chatham Bridge closes, and traffic is detoured 

October 2021: Chatham Bridge reopens to traffic

April 2022: All construction activity complete

Resources

Phase: Project awarded to Joseph B. Fay, Co.

Lat/Long: 38.304944, -77.456417

Locality: Fredericksburg and Stafford

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When the bridge reopens to traffic in fall 2021, it will have a nearly 10-foot wide path for pedestrian traffic, separated from traffic. This will replace the bridge's current 4-ft. sidewalks on both sides. The path will connect with the downtown sidewalk network, and Stafford County's Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail.
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Chatham Bridge was built in 1941, and carries 16,000 vehicles a day between the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County on Route 3 Business.
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Page last modified: June 30, 2020