VDOT: Half of Isle of Wight’s ‘worst bridges’ already fixed or undergoing repairs

Published 12:57 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

An online encyclopedia has labeled Isle of Wight County among the state’s top five localities with the “worst bridges.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation, however, contends two of the 10 Isle of Wight bridges listed as needing repairs are already fixed and another three are currently undergoing rehabilitation.

A-Z Animals, a website that aims to “educate, amuse and inform readers with incredible content about animals, weather events, plants and local news,” listed the following Isle of Wight bridges as needing repairs:

  • Ennis Mill Road over Ennis Pond
  • Ouzel Church Road over Champion Swamp
  • Longview Drive over Chuckatuck Creek
  • Jenkins Mill Road over Kingsale Swamp
  • Mill Swamp Road over Stallings Creek
  • Fire Tower Road over Pope Swamp
  • Dews Plantation Road over Stallings Creek
  • South Church Street over Cypress Creek
  • Woodland Drive over Great Swamp
  • Windsor Boulevard over the Blackwater River at Zuni

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According to Kelly Alvord, a VDOT spokeswoman, replacement of the Ennis Mill Road and the rehabilitation of the Windsor Boulevard bridge over the Blackwater River were each completed in 2022. Construction is active at the Dews Plantation Road, Jenkins Mill Road and Longview Drive bridges.

The Longview Drive bridge work, as of June 2, was on schedule to be completed this summer. VDOT expects to complete its work on the Jenkins Mill Road bridge by this fall and the Dews Plantation Road bridge by early 2024.

Contracts have been executed for work on the Uzzle Church Road and Fire Tower Road bridges. Work on the Uzzle Church bridge is to begin this summer, and work on the Fire Tower bridge is expected to begin this fall.

The Mill Swamp Road and Woodland Drive bridges are each in the “design stage.” Work on the Woodland bridge is set to begin later this year, and work on the Mill Swamp bridge is to be complete by sometime in 2024.

Rehabilitating the circa-1975 Cypress Creek Bridge will entail roughly two years of alternating lane closures maintained by a temporary traffic signal as VDOT works to replace the beams and deck in the first three spans of the bridge, as well as one additional beam. The project, originally planned to start in the fall of 2022, is currently in the “advertisement phase” where the project is put out to bid, Alvord said. The work is now expected to begin later this year.

According to VDOT’s 2021 “State of the Structures and Bridges” report, there were 698 bridges, or 3.3% of the state’s 21,241 bridges and large culverts, in “poor condition” as of 2021.

Structures designated as “poor” have one or more components rated in poor condition under the National Bridge Inspection Standards. VDOT inspectors use “general condition rating,” or GCR, which uses a 0-9 scale, with zero being failure and nine being in excellent condition. “Poor” is defined as a score of four or lower.

Poor structures “are not necessarily unsafe, but they have usually deteriorated to a state where they require significant repair, rehabilitation, or in many cases, replacement,” the report states.