Dueling projects on Lewistown Road Bridge

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - A multi-million dollar construction project in Hanover County will improve traffic around Lewistown Road and Interstate 95, but some of the work will all be undone just a few years later.

Right now VDOT is widening Lewistown Road, but a quarter of a mile away, plans to widen and raise the bridge over I-95 are still in the design phase. Problem is, some of the current construction will have to be changed in just three years for the on and off ramp work and some tough timing could be to blame.

This bridge has given truckers problems for years. In the last decade or so, nearly half a dozen trucks have hit the bridge because they were too tall for the fourteen and a half foot clearance - about two feet lower than most interstate bridges.

Joe Daley drives a big rig through Central Virginia every few months. He says most trucks are shorter than the fourteen-foot clearance but raising the bridge will only help.

"You get those oversized loads, that'll do it," Daley said. "You get that cold weather, ice, snow, builds up the road so high, you're shrinking your height and that's where you run into more problems."

While engineers are designing the $21-million bridge project set to start in 2015, workers are already widening Lewistown Road just a quarter of a mile away.

Some of the work being done over here will have to be undone in only three years when work on the bridge starts. VDOT says it's just a matter of when the funding for both of these projects becomes available.

"During that time you don't want to leave things undone," said Dawn Eischen of VDOT.  "They're finishing what they have over (on Lewistown Road) before we get to what we have (at the bridge)."

VDOT says funding for widening the road became available several years before money was found for the bridge.

"We can do as much as we can, hoping that the funding will all be here," Eischen said. "If it's not, what do we do? Not do that project? So really that project was already getting going."

The bridge project still needs to be approved by the federal government since it involves an interstate highway.

VDOT plans to maintain traffic on the bridge when construction kicks off in March of 2015.

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