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June 19, 2017 · OPINION

Misleading information about Waterloo Bridge

By Phoebe Tufts

In this era of inflammatory, even false rhetoric, designed to manipulate, the average taxpaying citizen is frustrated.

The posted information on the Piedmont Environmental Council’s website, under Waterloo Bridge, News and updates, January 2017, includes something that is false. It reads, “It’s been three years since Waterloo Bridge was closed on January 15, 2014. The counties and VDOT need to act before it is too late. VDOT has said that rehabilitation, with increased load capacity, is possible. They have determined rehabilitation would cost $4.5 million, which is $2 million cheaper than replacing the bridge outright (which is what is planned currently). There is a private donor generously offering $1 million towards rehabilitation. The question now is what are we waiting for? Please take Action to Save Waterloo Bridge by sending a letter to local, state and federal representatives, along with VDOT.”

The misinformation is in parentheses “which is what is planned currently.”

Yet, VDOT makes it clear to anyone interested that this is NOT “what is planned currently.”

Clearly, a reader of the web post would most likely want to take action because if he/she didn’t take action then $6.5 million would be spent to replace the bridge outright!

What is the question now?

The writer and her husband live near the bridge on the Fauquier side of the Rappahannock River.
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vipermike98 · June 24, 2017 at 11:48 am
Almost forgot... There was a generous donor of land to make that area a park. To me, this far surpasses a monetary donation, since we all can make more money....but not land. This idea is great, and the argument that the land floods, so would the bridge... Making it impassable, so that's irrelevant.

Have a great weekend, I am off to enjoy the river!!!
vipermike98 · June 24, 2017 at 11:43 am
Amissville and Thinkingthrough. Thanks for the replies. The bridge is in disrepair. If the bridge was moved to be refurbished, it will certainly fall apart. This was confirmed at the VDOT public hearing. If there is to be a bridge there it will be as thinkingthrough described, a soul-less, expensive concrete bridge. I would much rather my tax money be spent to make that area a park for all taxpayers and citizens to enjoy without fear if being struck by a speeding car.
Rover 530 · June 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm
R. Allen: First they have to hire an investigative reporter.

My personal opinion is that the state should demolish the bridge and not replace it. The most economic alternative. A lot of public money is being bandied about with very little return. I appreciate each sides' arguments.
thinkingthrough · June 20, 2017 at 10:30 am
I agree with the post from Amissville. Please get the bridge fixed and reopened before it falls apart and VDOT has to take it down and replace it with a soul-less, expensive, concrete bridge from Nowheresville.
Amissville · June 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm
Open the bridge to traffic! Refurbish, construct, whatever it take. Can't we have river access and a bridge? Also, the corner only became dangerous after the bridge closed down because he stop sign is useless now. Every time I hear about government waste and spending on foreign countries I can't help but think......Virginia is so poor it cannot afford to build a bridge in Amissville without first turning its citizens against each other. Vipermike98 is 100% correct about the current speed limit.
vipermike98 · June 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm
Phoebe, it is hard to trust anyone associated with this bridge "rehabilitation" project. During the "public hearing", VDOT made it clear that the old bridge would not endure a move and likely a new concrete bridge would be put in it's place. As residents directly impacted by the decision to open/close the bridge we are concerned. We regularly watch families play in the river through swimming, fishing, canoeing, etc... There is parking at the bridge now and no pollution being thrown into the river and ultimately the Chesapeake Watershed.

One thing to note, the price tag being advertised is for the BRIDGE ONLY, this does not include the price for the roads leading up to the bridge, the land that will need procured, and other misc. fee's associated with this project. We also must remain cognizant that the figures are estimates based on inflation percentages, real tax dollars are likely to be significantly this project a hefty price tag for those of us who pay taxes.

The speed limit on Old Bridge road is another concern, it is currently 50 MPH. The curve at the bridge is blind and not many stop or slow down to take that curve. If the bridge re-opens, it will only be a matter of time before a fatality occurs. Pedestrians walk and cycle on the road daily, often times taking a break at the bridge. All these facts should point to one decision... convert the bridge into a historic area for all of the Commonwealth to enjoy while preserving the Rappahannock river, Chesapeake Bay, and ensuring the safety of those who enjoy scenic walks and bicycling to the bridge.

I for one know that people do not slow down on this road, having been almost hit by a gold, dual wheeled truck that doesn't hit the brakes when (s)he see's people walking on the shoulder of the road. if the bridge opens there will be more traffic, making it unsafe to enjoy the bridge as described above and eliminating the possibility for families to enjoy this beautiful area, safely.

I am not sure why the PEC are involved, other than a key donor to their organization having motives for personal gain which can only be realized if the bridge is re-opened... maybe the free publicity, whatever the case... if the fine people would like this bridge to remain closed or turned into a shared use path for walking and bicycling, please reach out to the Board of Supervisors and make your voice heard.
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