You asked: Bridge near IP to reopen this month

Published 11:23 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

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You asked: Why is the Jamestown Lane Bridge closed?

Virginia Department of Transportation workers Richeardo Anderson, from left, Cedric Jackson and Willie Westbrook work on the Jamestown Lane bridge at the main entrance to International Paper. -- DON BRIDGERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—The Jamestown Lane bridge, which leads to the main entrance of Franklin’s International Paper mill, should reopen by the end of the month, said Brooke Grow, public affairs specialist with the Virginia Department of Transportation in Suffolk.

VDOT closed the bridge on Dec. 5 after inspectors determined a critical portion of its structure needed repaired, Grow said.

A detour was put in place so repairs can be made to the beams, deck and piers.

Grow did not know the cost of repairs to the 74-year-old bridge because the project was not bid out; VDOT workers are doing the work with materials on hand, she said. VDOT wanted to save time so the agency did not go with an outside contractor.

The bridge is expected to be closed again in April for preventative work, Grow said.

“It will get a waterproofing overlay,” she said. “It’s kind of like a sealant.”

Grow did not know the length of time the project would take.

The closed bridge has not been a problem for International Paper, which is revamping its paper mill to begin producing fluff pulp by June, said Julie Brennan, communication manager for the Franklin mill.

“We’ve asked everyone to follow the recommended detour,” Brennan said.

She doesn’t expect the bridge to be an issue when the mill reopens because the project will be completed.