Courtland bridge finished
Published 12:17 pm Saturday, October 17, 2015
Nine months after it was closed, the Route 35 Bridge over the Nottoway River outside of Courtland reopened on Thursday afternoon. More than 100 people were in attendance for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, including Courtland Mayor Danny R. Williams, Southampton Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Ronald West, Virginia House of Representatives Delegate Roslyn Tyler and many local business owners.
“It’s a great day for the town, the county and VDOT to deliver this project,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Roads District Administrator Jim Utterback. “I can remember when we had the public hearing over at the school, and it’s just amazing that in less than 2 and 1/2 years we’ve gone from a public hearing to a complete project.”
Construction to replace the former Route 35 bridge, which was deemed structurally deficient, began on Jan. 5. It was expected to remain closed through the end of October.
“The unique thing about this bridge is that we put in 300 days to have the bridge closed,” Utterback said. “[It took] 283 days. This is our first design build which we have delivered on time and on budget.”
The new viaduct features 12-foot lanes, 8-foot shoulders and a 26-foot clearance — 8 feet higher than the bridge that was built in 1928.
“It’s always tough on the folks when you have a bridge close like this,” said Waterfront Marine Construction President Eric Kishel. “Although we finished ahead of schedule and the project was for the greater good, we understand that this disrupted a lot of people’s lives in the process of building it. We do appreciate that, and we’re happy to deliver this to you ahead of schedule.”
West was more than delighted that the bridge was completed, and referenced something his grandmother used to say when he cut her grass to show his appreciation.
“It’s poor pay, but thank you, thank you and thank you. But I found out you did it under budget, so we want some money back!” he said to a chorus of laughter.
“We are excited that you’ve done this, and, man, the federal government needs to learn something in a big old way.
“ If they furnished the funds and you came in short of time and under budget, our federal government has a lot to learn from these people that have done all of this work. I suggest you move to Washington, ASAP.”
Coincidentally, 80 percent of the funding for the bridge came from the federal government, with the remaining 20 percent provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
According to VDOT spokeswoman Laurie Simmons, there will be limited single-lane closures overnight on the bridge until the project is completed in its entirety on Nov. 30.
For more information, visit CourtlandBridge.org.