Public can comment on bridge

Published 11:09 am Saturday, July 26, 2014

COURTLAND—Before issuing a permit to create a new bridge over the Nottoway River in Courtland, the Army Corps of Engineers has established a public comment period.

People have until the close of business on Monday, Aug. 25, to submit their thoughts on the project, and these need to be made in writing, and addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510-1096.

Any comments received will be used to decide if a public hearing is necessary, and also to gauge the public’s interest in the project. To request such a forum, write to the district commander at the address above within 30 days.

Waterfront Marine in Virginia Beach was recommended by the Virginia Department of Transportation and won the bid last October. John W. Greene, senior vice president of Waterfront Marine, said last year that the firm would do the job is $9,476,000.

In addition, the company must also get permits from both the Courtland Wetlands Board and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

An estimated 0.58 acres of wetland are anticipated to be permanently impacted, and 0.75 acres will be temporarily affected by the construction. Wetland mitigation bank credits were bought that will compensate for both effects.

The replacement is required because the 85-year-old Darden Memorial Bridge was judged “structurally deficient and weight restricted” by VDOT. For example, in the summer of 2012, weight limits were lowered to the minimum possible for truck traffic.

In February 2013, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors had voted 6-1 to proceed with the 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.

If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact Stephen Decker at or 757-201-7832.