Under Construction: Route 3 Business (Chatham Bridge) Bridge Superstructure Replacement
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NEW! 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. Read the city's news release to learn more about this public works project.
The view shown is from William Street in Fredericksburg looking across Rappahannock River toward Stafford County. A new image is posted every 10 minutes.
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.
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. VDOT would remove the existing work zone barriers at the Hanson Avenue approach, and replace it with a concrete median that could be landscaped.
A fully-funded safety project, applying federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds, will make these pattern changes permanent at the intersection in 2024.
Fredericksburg City Council will hear public comment on VDOT's recommendation to retain the changes at the Route 1, Hanson Avenue and Princess Anne Street intersection until the 2024 project at a future meeting.
The Chatham Bridge project made the following pattern changes at the intersection, which remain in place:
- Hanson Avenue traffic approaching the Route 1 intersection is limited to right turns onto Route 1 southbound only. Hanson Avenue traffic is 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 is detoured to Fall Hill Avenue.
- Route 1 northbound traffic is 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 was added at the Princess Anne Street ramp to Route 1 northbound and Falmouth Bridge. The signal allows for free-flowing right turns onto Route 1 northbound from Princess Anne Street during a green signal.
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.
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
Robert Ridgell, P.E., VDOT Area Construction Engineer
Kelly Hannon, VDOT Communications Manager
Other relevant links:
Phase: Project awarded to Joseph B. Fay, Co.
Lat/Long: 38.304944, -77.456417
Locality: Fredericksburg and Stafford