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January 15, 2014

State closes Waterloo Bridge, among oldest at 136

Photos/Library of Congress
The wrought-iron bridge has a wooden deck that spans 102 feet.
Map/Steve Wheat
Despite that restriction and numerous repairs through the years, advancing age and the weather took their toll on the bridge’s supporting members.
— Lou Hatter, VDOT spokesman
State officials Wednesday closed what could rank as Virginia’s oldest vehicular bridge, linking Fauquier and Culpeper counties.

The 136-year-old Waterloo Bridge has deteriorated beyond a safe threshold, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

On Route 613 (Waterloo Road), the wrought-iron and wooden span over the Rappahannock River had carried an average of 680 vehicles per day. Affected motorists must use Route 211 and Leeds Manor Road (Route 688) in their detours.

Built in 1878, the one-lane bridge had remained open with VDOT’s weight restriction of three tons, essentially allowing a pickup truck to cross the river there.

“Despite that restriction and numerous repairs through the years, advancing age and the weather took their toll on the bridge’s supporting members,” VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter said.

Following the bridge’s most recent inspection, VDOT engineers “determined that the deterioration was too severe to continue to allow traffic to use the bridge,” Mr. Hatter explained.

Waterloo Road remains open east and west of the bridge.

“VDOT will work with local officials in Fauquier and Culpeper County to determine the best course of action,” Mr. Hatter said.

Preservationists and historians will lobby for the span’s repair.

A “Save the Waterloo Bridge” page on Facebook has attracted more than 1,600 “Likes” since its creation Nov. 13.

For more information about the commonwealth’s bridges and VDOT’s inspection program, including current conditions of bridges, FAQs and video of a bridge inspection, visit VDOT’s web site, http://www.virginiadot.org/info/Bridge.asp.
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Southcountyguy · January 16, 2014 at 8:50 am
Save the bridge! Although pretty scary driving a car over this, I hope VDOT can keep it open for pedestrian and bicycle traffic..the view is too stunning to waste.
TodNehman · January 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm
sad...I remember years and years ago when I discovered that bridge...it was like going back in time, even then! I hope they at least keep it open to foot and bicycle traffic so the bridge can still be enjoyed.
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