VDOT News - Fredericksburg



Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344


Oct. 10, 2021

Route 3 Business over the Rappahannock River, connecting the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County, has reopened after a 16-month improvement project

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Following a 16-month rehabilitation effort, the Chatham Bridge reopened to vehicle traffic early Sunday morning, reconnecting the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County at the span over the Rappahannock River on Route 3 Business.

Chatham Bridge had been closed to traffic since June 22, 2020, when a $23.4 million project started to improve the condition of the bridge, which opened in 1941.

The State of Good Repair maintenance project replaced the bridge deck and travel surface, and repaired the bridge approaches and substructure.

Before the project, Chatham Bridge was posted with a 15-ton vehicle weight limit, which is now removed. Vehicles of all legal loads can again cross the bridge, including heavier-weight emergency response equipment.

The first vehicle to cross the bridge around 6 a.m. Sunday was a FREDEricksburg Regional Transit bus, driven by operator Ray Young.

An average of 16,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.

While traffic can again travel over the bridge, construction will continue as scheduled through April 2022 to repair the bridge’s substructure, below the bridge deck. The impact to vehicle traffic will be limited. Only periodic single-lane closures are anticipated.

Project contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. completed the superstructure repairs at an accelerated pace ahead of contract requirements to reopen the bridge to traffic as soon as possible.

New Traffic Pattern at River Road

The River Road intersection with Route 3 Business in Stafford is now a right-in, right-out only intersection.

Left turns are prohibited from River Road onto Route 3 eastbound in Stafford. Route 3 eastbound traffic traveling over the bridge from the City of Fredericksburg into Stafford is prohibited from turning left onto River Road.

A concrete island at the River Road approach now channels channel traffic to be limited to right turns in, and right turns out.

View a display of the new pattern from the project's public hearing.

New Shared Use Path Open on Bridge

The bridge’s new shared use path opened Saturday, Oct. 9, during a ribbon cutting and pedestrian preview. This nearly 10-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bicyclists includes a scenic overlook of the Rappahannock River, and connects sidewalks in downtown Fredericksburg with the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford.

The Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford that passes underneath the Chatham Bridge remains an active work zone under the bridge, and will not be open to pedestrians at this location until April 2022. The shared use path on Chatham Bridge is accessible from Stafford at the street level with Route 3 Business and River Road.

Learn more about the project at https://www.virginiadotorg/chathambridge.


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: June 2, 2023