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January 15, 2020

Waterloo Bridge contract for $3.6 million awarded

Because of deterioration, the historic bridge has been closed since January 2014.
Without the overwhelming citizen support that we’ve gotten, we wouldn’t have gotten through this journey. Metal truss bridges are being lost throughout the Commonwealth.
— PEC staff member Julie Bolthouse
Waterloo Bridge
• What: Wrought iron truss with wooden deck, erected in 1878; renovated in 1919.

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

• Closed: January 2014 because of deterioration.

• VDOT project info: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The restoration of a 142-year-old Waterloo Bridge over the Rappahannock River near Orlean finally will get under way.

The Virginia Department of Transportation on Monday, Jan. 6, awarded Corman Kokosing Construction Co. of Annapolis Junction a $3.65-million contract to save the single-lane, metal truss span that connects Fauquier and Culpeper counties.

Corman Kokosing submitted the lowest of seven bids on the project.

“I don’t have a date for construction at this point,” VDOT Spokesman Will Merritt said. “We’re still in the early stages of working through a project schedule with the contractor. The completion date for the project is slated for April 30, 2021.”

The state transportation agency first advertised the project early last year. But, it received just one bid from Roanoke-based Allegheny Construction Co. of $4.1 million.

VDOT rejected the Alleghany bid because its exceeded the project’s $3.9 cost estimate and initial budget of $3.1 million.

As a result, “VDOT reevaluated and updated the contract, reviewed existing project funding and requested additional funds with an intent to re-advertise the project,” Mr. Merritt explained in an email. “The additional funding increased the total project budget — including design, right-of-way and construction — to approximately $5 million.”

VDOT re-advertised the project in October.

Corman Kokosing’s low bid “was within the engineer’s estimate and was recommended for award,” Mr. Merritt explained. 

Wilmington, Del.-based Cerka Inc. submitted the highest bid at $6.67 million.

Under the contract, the Corman Kokosing will remove, repair and re-install the bridge, Mr. Merritt said.

“Some of the components that are removed may not be fit for continued use,” he explained. “So they will be replaced and every effort will be made to replicate the look of the bridge, including the green paint color.”

Because of safety concerns, the Waterloo Bridge has remained closed since January 2014. It carried an average of 630 vehicles per day.

The project also calls for a 12-ton weight limit — four times the amount posted prior to closure.

The Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council and some citizens have pushed to save the span for its cultural and historical importance.

Part of PEC’s efforts included a presentation on the project to Russell Hitt, who owns Hitt Construction in Falls Church and property near the bridge in Rappahannock County. 

Mr. Hitt, who has long-time family ties to the area, and his wife Joan later pledged the $1 million toward rehabilitation.

Mr. Hitt couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.

PEC staff member Julie Bolthouse called VDOT’s construction award decision “heartening.”

“Without the overwhelming citizen support that we’ve gotten, we wouldn’t have gotten through this journey,” Ms. Bolthouse said. “Metal truss bridges are being lost throughout the Commonwealth.”

Truss bridges should be preserved because they represent “part of our history” and an “engineering legacy for the commonwealth,” Ms. Bolthouse said.

The Waterloo Bridge also could serve as a tourist draw — “one more thing to see while you’re out here in wine country,” she said.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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Mark House · January 15, 2020 at 6:05 pm
Once the Lantern Fly descends and spreads through the area, like the Emerald Ash Borer that is destroying the Ash tree, there may be no vineyards left, but we'll have a $3.6 million dollar bridge to look at while driving through to other states.
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