Waterloo Bridge restoration discussed, but not funded

Waterloo Bridge was closed in January 2014.
Courtesy photo

A historic bridge that services residents from both Culpeper and Fauquier counties is being considered for restoration by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The 139-year-old Waterloo Bridge was closed to traffic Jan. 15, 2014 due to its deteriorated condition.

Built in 1878, the truss structure made of wrought iron was posted for a three-ton maximum vehicle weight prior to its closure. According to VDOT, despite that restriction and numerous repairs, advancing age and weather took its toll on the bridge’s supports.

According to Howard M. Tomlinson, VDOT project manager for the Culpeper District Design Section, the bring saw 680 vehicles each day. Now, that traffic is detoured to Route 211 (Lee Highway) and Route 688 in Fauquier County. Routes 613 and 622 in Culpeper County handle the detoured traffic.

VDOT recently held a public hearing on the proposed project, Tomlinson said. More than 90 residents from both Culpeper and Fauquier counties have commented on the restoration project, even though no funding is in place yet.

The project, estimated at an approximate $4 million, can not move forward past the public hearing stage until funding is determined.

Culpeper County administrator John Eggertson seemed skeptical that funding could be found quickly.

Last year was the first time in 15 years Culpeper County did not receive revenue sharing funds, for which they had requested for secondary road paving. Egertson said that it would be surprising if the county received revenue sharing funds for the bridge restoration.

“Culpeper and Fauquier counties have been on the same page about the bridge being rehabilitated and not rebuilt,” he said. “But we don’t have the funds set aside for that and we have no funding source identified.”

The Piedmont Environmental Council said a private donor could contribute $1 million to the project, Tomlinson said, but he has not seen anything in writing about the possible revenue yet.

Egertson said the subject hasn’t been discussed by the Culpeper County BOS in quite some time.

“If they used revenue sharing funds we wouldn’t rule that out, but maybe it could be matched by the donor,” Egertson said. “If they’re willing to use revenue sharing for Waterloo Bridge, why wouldn’t they use it for secondary road paving?”

Proposed Project

The proposed project involves dismantling and removing the truss and making repairs, then reinstalling the bridge. VDOT anticipates that some bridge components will not be fit for continued use and will be replaced with new materials. However, every effort will be made to replicate the look of the historic bridge, including its green paint color.

Tomlinson said the bridge’s piers will be repairs and approach spans will receive new steel beams and a timber deck. No significant improvements to the roadway are expected, he said.

Project Schedule

Right of way acquisition and utility relocation: Summer/fall 2017

Construction advertisement: Spring 2018

Construction completion: Late summer 2019

Project schedule is subject to change based on funding availability.

Project Cost

Total Cost: $4 million

Engineering of Roadway Plans: $802,082

Right of Way Acquisition and Utility Relocation: $120,000

Construction: $3,005,555

About Jeff Say 252 Articles
Jeff Say is the editor for the Culpeper Times. He can be reached at jsay@culpepertimes.com