Members of the Fredericksburg area headquarters of the Virginia Department of Transportation met with citizens of Colonial Beach, and the surrounding areas, on Oct. 17 to answer questions on the upcoming closure of the Wilkerson’s bridge.
On Nov. 1, the bridge that crosses Tides Mill Stream will be closed to all traffic. Route 205, or Ridge Road, will have signs pointing traffic toward the official detour. The project is expected to last until March, 2013.
As this is one of two ways out of Colonial Beach all traffic is being detoured away from the area, down route 205 to Longfield Road (Rte. 631) and across to the other portion of 205 past the closure area. The detour adds seven miles to the trip.
Longfield Road is known to locals as “Drag Strip Road” as it runs parallel to the Colonial Beach Dragway.
VDOT has placed a temporary traffic signal at the Oak Grove end of Longfield Road and 205. This signal will operate twenty-four hours a day until the repair work is done and the road is reopened. Some minor work was done to this road in anticipation of the increased traffic from the detoured vehicles.
During the time in which VDOT was investigating the area, route 205 at the Wilkerson’s/Tides Mill Stream bridge carried an average of 4,800 vehicles a day. Bryant Contracting, Inc will perform the repairs on the bridge which includes raising the bridge to a higher level.
According to Tina Bundy, who is in charge of Communications for FAH of VDOT, the project is set to take a maximum of 101 days according to the contract with Bryant.
Longfield Road is generally considered a secondary road by VDOT standards, but due to the detour it will be treated, and maintained, as a primary road during the construction time. If the area receives any severe weather this winter Longfield road will be a priority for snow clearance and the placement of salt and chemicals.