AMELIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — VDOT is currently taking public comments for plans to replace bridges in Amelia County.
Thursday we spoke with 67-year-old Curtis Jefferson who says he’s been driving over the bridges in Amelia all his life. He says he’s noticed for a while now that the bridges have deteriorated. 8News found holes in some of the support beams as well as other obvious deficiencies in one bridge in the area.
“Well, it’s been there for many years and it looks rough. It needs something done to it,” said Jefferson.
For Jefferson, it’s raised some personal concerns over the safety of the bridges.
“Anything can happen with all that weight coming over the top of it all the time. You never know,” said Jefferson.
VDOT has plans to replace these bridges and estimate the cost to be over $11 million. Though currently about 5 percent of the over 2,500 bridges in the Richmond area are considered like the bridges in Amelia to be structurally deficient.
“Structurally deficient does not mean it is unsafe,” said Jeff Hill with VDOT.
Hill says the organization has been aggressively repairing and replacing structurally deficient bridges for years.
“In 2013 we had about 249 structurally deficient bridges. As of today, we have 143,” said Hill.
Bridges are generally inspected every two years, while structurally deficient bridges get checked out at least once a year.
“It’s a multi-faceted approach to removing structurally deficient bridges,” said Hill.
VDOT prioritizes projects by looking at a bridge’s annual amount of traffic, projected growth, and potential weight capacity issues. Meanwhile, the Richmond district of VDOT says they get between $40-50 million a year to fix bridges and that money can only go so far.
Public comments about the proposed project in Amelia County may be submitted at the meeting or until November 26 by mailing them to Anthony Haverly, P.E., P.M.P, project manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 2430 Pine Forest Drive, Colonial Heights, VA 23834-9002. Comments can also be emailed to Anthony.Haverly @VDOT.Virginia.gov. Please reference “Rt. 360 Bridge” in the subject line.