Pam Dudding Contributing writer
The Meadow Creek bridge has been supporting Craig County traffic for many years. It has finally lost its strength as pieces have been found by neighbors along their creek banks.
When you look at the side of the bridge, it is noticeable that areas are starting to deteriorate. Neighbors shared this information with VDOT over a year ago when the flood came in that creek and moved the rocks and pounded out the sides of the road, almost flowing into the road now.
At the January Board meeting, VDOT representatives Ray Varney (Salem Resident Engineer) and Ashley Smith (Assistant Resident Engineer for Craig County) shared that this project is still on schedule to starting in March, stating, “Route 311 (New Castle) Bridge Replacement over Meadow Creek (UPC 110596) – Construction is scheduled to begin in full measure in March of 2022.”
Smith added they had a pre-construction meeting scheduled at the end of January and that “notifications will be put out before any construction starts.”
Collins asked if message boards would be put out and Smith assured them that they would be.
Neighbors have shared that they have seen various representatives visiting the site.
Craig County will have to conduct some preliminary work on the power lines going over the creek as they hang down very low and will be in the area of construction. These measures are already being reviewed and electric power lines and poles will have to be moved before construction can begin. New poles are already being placed so powerlines can be moved by AEP.
Communications manager Jason Bond was available to answer some questions about the upcoming Meadow Creek Bridge replacement project.
He noted that the work is being completed under a $1.9 million contract. A.R. Coffey and Sons from Buchanan is the contractor and VDOT will administer the project.
A small breakdown of the project will include the two-lane bridge being replaced one side at a time.
“A temporary signal will be installed to control traffic with two-way traffic alternating using the southbound side of the bridge while the northbound side is demolished and replaced first,” Bond explained. “Two-way traffic will then be switched onto the new northbound side of the bridge sometime in late summer while the old southbound side is demolished and replaced.”
He added that the intention is to activate the signal and reduce traffic across the bridge to one lane beginning in early March and suggesting that drivers should allow extra travel time.
Bond shared that the initial work on the bridge will include widening the pavement a bit at the bridge to accommodate the one-lane traffic pattern across the bridge.
“The survey work, installing the signage and temporary signal will be completed first,” he added. “Next, the signal will be activated to reduce the bridge to one lane.”
They shared that in addition, Route 646 (Allen Street) will be closed at the intersection with Route 311 traffic needing to access Allen Street turning on to Route 665 (Kanawha Street) and driving around the Craig County Fairgrounds to Route 650 (Marshall Drive) onto Holcomb Avenue to reach Allen Street.
The summary of the project includes:
- Work to replace the bridge which will begin in February with traffic across the bridge reduced to one lane starting in March
- Two-way traffic expected to be switched onto the new northbound side of the bridge – late summer (August)
- The new structure should be completed with the signal and detour removed – mid-December
- There will be incidental work and seeding to take place – early 2023
- Final completion date – spring 2023
When asked if the creek will be adjusted back to its original flow after they finish the bridge, Bond replied, “Relocating or modifying the stream is not a part of this project.”
The citizens may note also, that when the lane closure is in place, there will be a nine-foot width restriction on Route 311 over the bridge and the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph in the work zone.
At the Board meeting, VDOT also reported on other projects, land development projects, and land use permits:
- Middle and Main Drainage Project – we have been notified that the federal funding has been committed to this project. Based on our current estimate, we have sufficient funds to proceed with this advertisement and are completing the design documents for advertisement
- Land Development Projects – no reviews
- Permits issued between 11/17/2021 – 12/20/2021 None issued
- Area Headquarter Upcoming Projects
- Mowing/Trimming and Mow Trimming on Route 621
- Grading gravel roads and adding stone, working on roads throughout the county adding stone as needed, applying dust control as needed
- Upcoming pipe replacements: Route 673, Maple Avenue, Route 632, Johns Creek Road (2 pipes)
- Completed projects:
- Cleaned and opened pipes on Routes 604, 605, 611, 617, 623, 624, 625, and 626 and spot ditching on Route 18
- Shoulder work on Route 311 – the north side of Potts Mountain
- Bridge Projects
- Route 311 (Paint Bank, VA) Superstructure Replacement Structure over Potts Creek (UPC 110619). Construction complete
Craig residents are pleased that these important bridges are being replaced before detrimental damage created non-traffic issues.