State inviting comment on Cypress Creek Bridge work

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

VDOT is inviting questions and concerns from the public in the leadup to major repairs of the Cypress Creek Bridge, according to VDOT Spokesperson Nina Napolitano.

If inquiries can’t be satisfied, VDOT is willing to hold a public hearing on the topic, according to the department. The deadline to request a public hearing is May 3.  

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A sign has been erected next to the bridge with VDOT’s number — 956-3000 — and its purpose is to determine if a public hearing on the project is something that the public wants, according to Napolitano. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“It’s VDOT’s way of saying, we’re planning a project here, and we have plans if you’d like to see them,” she said.   

Cypress Creek Bridge is one of the major entrances to Smithfield’s historic district, and support beams, bearings, side barriers and part of the bridge deck will be a part of the rehabilitation project, which resulted from VDOT’S Six -Year improvement Program, according to Napolitano.

The program is used by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to meet its annual state obligations pertaining to the funding of interstate, primary, secondary and urban highway systems, public transit and other systems, according to VDOT.  

This project is expected to last 12 to 18 months, tentatively, said Napolitano, adding that “there will be one lane open the entire time, and traffic moving in both directions” plus a temporary traffic signal in place. 

“We don’t anticipate any major road closures, since traffic will be moving during the construction,” said Napolitano. 

Napolitano said that in some cases, public hearings are automatically given for large major projects that have significant impacts to traffic and private businesses over a period of time. 

While construction is not slated to begin until October of 2020, the deadline to request a public hearing is less than two weeks away. To request a public hearing in writing, send a request to Steve Mao with the VDOT Hampton Roads District Office at 7511 Burbage Drive.  

The project information is available at the VDOT Hampton Roads District Office and Franklin Residency office located at 23116 Meherrin Road in Courtland.

Napolitano said that since the structure was built in the early 1970s, the rehabilitation was “just a part of our commitment in keeping people safe.” 

VDOT’s most recent traffic report showed that the bridge experienced an annual average of 13,000 vehicles per day. Five years prior, the average was 14,000.  {/mprestriction}