VDOT recommends firm to replace Courtland bridge

Published 10:09 am Friday, October 11, 2013

COURTLAND—A Virginia Beach firm has been named in the notice of intent to award the building of the Route 35 bridge replacement in Courtland.

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson shared that Waterfront Marine Construction has been recommended by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The state agency made the announcement on Sept. 18 to William Brett, the company’s chief estimator.

The bidding was competitive, and the amount for which the firm would do the job is $9,476,000, said John W. Greene, senior vice president of Waterfront Marine. He anticipates a final approval will be made at the VDOT Commonwealth Transportation Board’s meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16, to confirm the contract, with details finalized sometime in November.

Greene added that the project would include both teaming up with a designer, URS Corp., and Waterfront Marine would do the actual construction.

Because the design has yet to be done, Johnson said, he was not able to pinpoint start and completion dates.

“But the project is moving forward,” he said.

Brooke Grow, public information officer for VDOT, confirmed, “We do not have a firm construction start date at this time.”

Greene did say building is expected to begin next fall.

The replacement is required because the 84-year-old Darden Memorial Bridge has been judged “structurally deficient and weight restricted” by VDOT. Last summer, weight limits were lowered to the minimum possible for truck traffic.

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors had voted 6-1 in February to go ahead with the $13 million project.

Dr. Alan Edwards, supervisor for the Jerusalem District, was the dissenting voice in that vote. He represents the area where the bridge is located.

At the time, Edwards said he didn’t vote against the project, but believed that VDOT should have found money for an alternate that would have enabled the bridge to remain open during the building of a new one.

Once work is started, the bridge and connecting Meherrin Road are expected to be closed 12 to 16 months. This will mean a detour of seven miles using Route 58 and Business 58.