Supervisors support $13 million Route 35 bridge replacement

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors during their Monday meeting voted 6-1 to go with lowest cost of replacing the Route 35 bridge outside Courtland.

The $13 million project will result in the road being closed for 12 to 16 months, with construction expected to start in 2014. Initially, the Virginia Department of Transportation planned a 23-month closure. A seven-mile detour will be put in place.

Voting “no” was Jerusalem District Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards, who represents the area where the bridge is located.

Edwards said he didn’t vote against the project, but felt that VDOT could’ve come up with the money for an alternative project that would’ve allowed the bridge to remain open during construction.

“We need to have a new bridge,” he said. “They are doing it the easy way by closing the bridge and the economy of Courtland. They presented different scenarios.”

One alternative including building a temporary bridge while the new bridge is built. That would’ve increased the price tag to $22 million.

In related matters, the construction of the bridge is expected to begin before the construction of a $22 million flyover at Business 58 and Route 58 outside Courtland.

“There may still be some overlap, but the (Route 35 bridge) project should wrap up before the construction (of the flyover) impacts traffic. It should be on the downhill side,” said County Administrator Mike Johnson.

The Virginia Department of Transportation last summer reduced the weight limit on the 83-year-old Route 35 bridge.

Other options pitched by VDOT include building a new bridge next to the old bridge for $19 million or continuing to repair the bridge, which has reached its life expectancy. Weight limits have been lowered to the minimum possible for truck traffic.