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April 29, 2020

Historic Waterloo Bridge swiftly lifted from river

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
A Corman Kokosing Construction crew member adjust the 14 straps — seven on each side — that lash the iron truss to I-beams before the move begins.
The one-lane bridge truss just before the move Wednesday morning.
Pretty graceful. They took their time and did everything right. They appreciated the history of it.
— Culpeper County resident Randy Allen
Waterloo Bridge Project
• What: Restoration of wrought iron truss span with wooden deck, erected in 1878 and renovated in 1919.

• Where: Waterloo Road (Route 613) across Rappahannock River, south of Orlean and about seven miles west of Warrenton, connecting Fauquier and Culpeper counties. 

• Closed: January 2014 because of deterioration.

• Planned re-opening: April 30, 2021.

• Contractor: Corman Kokosing Construction Co., Annapolis Junction, Md.

• Cost: $3.65 million.

• VDOT project info: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
It took about eight minutes Wednesday morning to hoist the Waterloo Bridge’s iron truss to a staging area for restoration along the Fauquier side of the Rappahannock River.

Closed because of safety concerns since January 2014, the 142-year-old span near Orlean connects Fauquier and Culpeper counties.

The Virginia Department of Transportation earlier this year awarded Corman Kokosing Construction Co. of Annapolis Junction, Md., a $3.65-milliion contract to save the single-lane bridge.

At around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Corman Kokosing workers began to ready the green-painted truss for the operator of a 550-ton crane to move it.

With most of the preparations completed, the crane operator slowly pivoted the crane’s boom to the right and lowered a lifting apparatus — two I-beams with seven straps on each — over the truss.

Workers secured the straps to the 62,101-pound structure, which the crane operator started to move at about 10:14 a.m.

The relocation of the approximately 100-foot long truss came off without a hitch. Only the steady hum of the crane’s powerful diesel engine competed with the sound of the rushing river below.

> Video at bottom of story

Randy Allen’s Culpeper home overlooks the approximately 366-foot long bridge.

“It was exciting,” Mr. Allen, 70, a retired radio and television reporter for The Associated Press and other news agencies, said of the job. “Pretty graceful. They took their time and did everything right. They appreciated the history of it.”

Paul and Anita Barry live in Culpeper County about 1.5 miles from the bridge.

“It was astounding” to watch, said Mr. Barry, 67, a retired federal government worker. “We walk down here three or four times a week to get some exercise” and to track the project’s progress.

But the Barrys admit to mildly mixed feelings about the restoration.

“We rather enjoyed the lack of traffic” since the bridge closed, said Mr. Barry, smiling.

It then carried an average of 630 vehicles per day.

Weather permitting, restoration of the truss should begin this week, VDOT Spokesman Lou Hatter said.

Restoration of the truss will continue through next March, according to transportation agency.

VDOT expects to reopen the bridge April 30, 2021.

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300.

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Sven622 · May 5, 2020 at 12:40 am
Don Del Rosso is such a good writer. Good job! You really captured the feeling of this operation.
Mark House · May 2, 2020 at 8:25 pm
Rover 530 - Agreed. That money could have gone to a non-profit that can really help people, not to a bridge that outlived it's usefulness.
Rover 530 · May 2, 2020 at 3:02 pm
An incredible waste of money. Should have been demolished.
resident · May 1, 2020 at 8:40 am
Actually yes Sverrocchio it is.....GROVE MODEL GMK7550 - 550 TON CAPACITY
Sverrocchio · April 30, 2020 at 8:39 am
That is not a 550 ton crane.
vipermike98 · April 29, 2020 at 9:24 pm
“There is still a lot of work to be done and we are hoping to work with VDOT to mitigate some of the safety concerns of adjacent neighbors through speed reductions, height restrictions and better signage,” Bolthouse said.

Hope that the PEC and its wealthy donors are able to pursuade VDOT to REDUCE THE SPEED LIMIT.
Linda Ward · April 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm
That is quite an undertaking. Was it worth the cost? Plan accordingly for higher taxes next year.
vipermike98 · April 29, 2020 at 6:13 pm
Total estimated cost: $5 million estimate
Construction contract value: $3,652,772.10
Estimated ad date: October 2019
Est. construction start date: February 2020
Estimated completion date: April 30, 2021
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