Big Otter bridge to be replaced

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Work could take up to two years to complete

By Tom Wilmoth

    A long-term project to replace the Big Otter River Bridge on Route 43—Peaks Road—will likely lead to single-lane traffic across the bridge for the next two years.

    Work to replace the Route 43 (Peaks Road) bridge over the Big Otter River in Bedford County will require a long-term lane closure starting in August 2017, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Jason Bond. 
    The bridge is located near the Route 682 (Woods Road) intersection about 2.7 miles north of Bedford. 
    Starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, one lane of the two-lane bridge will be closed and a temporary signal installed to control traffic. 
    Route 43 will be limited to a single lane in the area of the bridge replacement until spring 2019 when work to replace the structure is completed.  Vehicle widths will be limited to 10 feet. 

    To prepare for the long-term lane closure, flaggers may control traffic on the bridge during daytime hours on weekdays until the temporary signal is activated.
    Bond said a concrete barrier will be put up and the bridge will be reconstructed in segments.
    “It will be a lengthy closure,” Bond said. “This is going to be a long term project to replace this bridge.”
    Bond said the length of the bridge is why it is going to take multiple years to complete the project.
    “They will shift it around, build that piece and then shift traffic onto the new part of the bridge,” he said of the process.
    The bridge was built in 1952. “It’s showing wear and tear so it’s time to replace it,” Bond said.
Goode Road Bridge
    VDOT posted a detour around the Goode Road Bridge as work was ongoing on that project. Though not posted as such, the Route 643 (Bellevue Road) Bridge was also being used as a detour by some, prior to it being damaged.
    “We had planned to close it anyway,” Bond said. But the damage from the accident sped up the timeline. That was back in June when a piece of construction equipment attempted to cross the bridge and fell off, damaging the bridge’s railing and girder beyond repair. Originally work on that bridge was supposed to begin in the fall.
    “We ended up closing it earlier,” Bond said.
    Work on the Goode Road Bridge, which was closed in April, is expected to be completed by December.
    The Route 643 (Bellevue Road) bridge over the railroad tracks in Bedford County near the community of Goode is expected to remain closed until sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.
    The bridge is located approximately 2.3 miles southeast of Route 705 (Terrace View Road) and 0.2 mile northeast of Route 762 (Goode Station Road). The bridge is closed due to extensive damage to its railing and girder (outer beam) that was caused in June when the piece of construction equipment crossing the bridge struck it.
    The Virginia Department of Transportation had hoped to make repairs to reopen the bridge in summer 2017 before temporarily closing it again once additional rehabilitation work could be scheduled in the fall. However, VDOT has determined that the bridge’s girder was damaged beyond repair and has ordered a replacement girder that will take months to be fabricated. 
    Additional rehabilitation on the bridge’s timbers and steel components will also be completed during the closure.   The bridge is expected to remain closed through late 2017 or early 2018.  Drivers will need to seek alternate routes around the closure.