|Construction should be finished in the fall of 2014|
Staff Photo By Charles Boothe:
The Pigg River Bridge project, which will eventually require one-way traffic crossing the old bridge, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Monday, January 7, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Construction of the new Pigg River Bridge on South Main Street in Rocky Mount is moving right on schedule, according to Jamie Smith, spokesperson for Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
"Things are going smoothly and everything is on schedule," she said.
The town of Rocky Mount had expressed to VDOT its strong preference to keep traffic flowing over the river to protect industry, commerce and residents with continued access to U.S. 220.
VDOT's plan is to build half of the new bridge, then demolish the old bridge and build the second half of the new bridge. Traffic patterns will be different and drivers will have longer wait times while signals cycle and one lane is being used.
"The road pattern will change," said Smith, "so it will approach the new bridge."
During that time, one lane will remain open with flaggers in place to direct traffic.
Around the end of January or early February, blasting will be required, she said, but notices will be given to residents letting them know when they can expect this to take place.
"Those drivers who regularly use the Pigg River Bridge to head into or out of town will have to be patient, plan to spend a little more time on our route, and be cautious and defensive in their driving through the project area," said Matt Hankins, assistant town manager and community development director for Rocky Mount. "Paddlers and anglers will not be able to use the construction area while the bridge is under construction, so plan recreation accordingly."
"The old bridge had a great run, withstanding floods, millions of vehicle crossings, nearly 30,000 sunrises, and the freezes and thaws of 80 winters," he said.
Construction will come to halt from mid-March through the end of June to promote successful spawning of the endangered Roanoke logperch fish.
The current Pigg River bridge was built in 1928 and is a 174-foot-long concrete arch bridge with 10.5-foot lanes and one-foot shoulders.
The new bridge will be wider than the current bridge.
Construction is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2014.
"The wait will be tough, but the end result will be a new bridge that carries residents safely to their destinations, hopefully for as long as its predecessor," said Hankins.
"The peace of mind will be worth the aggravation."