A busy Chesterfield bridge will shut down for repairs this summer. VDOT is telling heavy trucks and buses not to cross the Qualla Road Bridge because it's dangerous.
The bridge runs over the Swift Creek near Newbys Bridge Road, not too far from Route 288.
NBC12 decided to go underneath the Qualla Road Bridge and take a look. VDOT crews said parts of the bridge are deteriorating so they're working out a plan and they're going to begin those repairs in June.
VDOT crews installed signs to let drivers know if their vehicles weigh four tons or more, they can't cross the bridge.
That includes trucks and school buses. VDOT will spend $600,000 to replace concrete slabs that are deteriorating. Some steel rods inside the concrete are even corroding.
"The location of these particular strands did not pose any imminent threat to the public but it's something we need to address before it goes any further," said VDOT Engineer Gary Martin.
Martin says this is one of the oldest, most heavily-traveled bridges of its kind. Eventually it will shut to all traffic some of the time. Neighbors like Steve LaPrade will feel the impact.
"It's going to be a big inconvenience," said LaPrade. "My wife travels that road everyday going to work so I didn't know it was going to be closed."
During the closure, people can reroute onto Spring Run road to Beach Road to Iron Bridge, to Courthouse, over to Newby's Bridge, and finally get back on to Qualla.
Some school bus routes are impacted, but the Chesterfield County School System has been down this road before and has plans in place. It's all a short-term inconvenience that LaPrade is willing to endure if that means a safer commute down the road.
"Absolutely, I think we need to spend money on the county roads," said LaPrade.
"They're just starting to show their age."
If all goes as planned, VDOT hopes to wrap up repairs by the time school starts in the fall. It's still up to police to enforce the restriction.
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