Recently Completed: Route 3 Business (Chatham Bridge) Bridge Superstructure Replacement

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NEW! April 1, 2022: Pedestrian Trail Connection to Bridge in Stafford Open Weekends 

Construction work along a pedestrian trail that passes underneath the Chatham Bridge on the Stafford County riverbank is substantially complete!

To provide as much pedestrian access as possible, this trail is open today, Friday, April 1, 2022, and it will remain open on weekends.

The trail will periodically close for pedestrian safety during daytime hours on weekdays through April 22, which is the completion date for the Chatham Bridge rehabilitation project. The contractor must complete additional grading work in the area, and other final punchlist items.

We appreciate the understanding of area walkers, runners, and bicyclists on weekdays as we wrap up final construction activities before removing the work zone in several weeks. An announcement will be sent when construction on the project is complete.

October 2021: Chatham Bridge Reopens to Traffic

Chatham Bridge is now open to vehicle traffic! Read the news release

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.

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. 

River Road and Route 3 Business: New Traffic Pattern

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.

Stormwater Pipe Replacement

In August 2021, the City of Fredericksburg started a project for stormwater pipe replacement on William Street between Caroline Street and Sophia Street, approximately one block from Chatham Bridge.

Project Resources

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

View the presentation slides

Read the project Frequently Asked Questions

Construction Camera

The view shown is from William Street in Fredericksburg looking across Rappahannock River toward Stafford County. A new image is posted every 10 minutes. 

Traffic Pattern Changes at Hanson Avenue and Route 1 in Fredericksburg

During the project detour from June 2020-October 2021, with additional traffic expected to use Route 1 and the Falmouth Bridge during the Chatham Bridge closure, several traffic pattern changes were made at the intersection of Route 1, Hanson Avenue and Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg. 

In September 2021, VDOT recommended to the City of Fredericksburg that these traffic changes remain in place following the Chatham Bridge reopening. Fredericksburg City Council approved the retention of these changes at its October 26, 2021 meeting. By the end of 2021, VDOT will remove the existing work zone barriers at the Hanson Avenue approach, and replace them with a concrete median that can be landscaped:

Sketch of interim improvements at Route 1, Hanson Avenue and Princess Anne Street

A fully-funded safety project, applying federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds, will make these pattern changes permanent at the intersection in 2024.

Dixon Street Ramp Improvements in Fredericksburg

Road improvements were made in advance along the signed detour route, which was Route 3 Business to Blue & Gray Parkway to Dixon Street.

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 improved driver access to the right turn lane, which was 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. 


A smoother concrete travel surface, installed over new steel bridge girders.

Repairs 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. 

The new path has a barrier separating vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Starting in April 2020, the bridge path will connect with the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford County. Currently, the bridge path is open and accessible from Route 3 Business at the street level in Stafford. 

Path users can stop at a scenic overlook halfway across the bridge. 

Lightposts were replaced to match existing lightposts in the downtown Fredericksburg area, and the replacement concrete bridge rail retained 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 9, 2021: Ribbon cutting and pedestrian preview event

October 10, 2021: Chatham Bridge opened to vehicle traffic

April 2022: All construction activity complete, and the shared use path on the bridge connects with the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford


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: March 27, 2023