Work crews will begin rehabilitating the 72-year-old McCormick Road Bridge on Monday.
The deteriorating bridge spans Emmet Street, which bisects the eastern and western portions of the University of Virginia’s Grounds. It has been in service with a reduced weight posting for the past year, but will close for the repairs from Monday until late July.
Corman Construction Inc. of Annapolis Junction, Md., coordinating with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the University’s Facilities Management, will replace the deck supports and deck surface.
Demolishing the existing bridge deck will require Emmet Street to be closed overnight, from 9 p.m. on May 21 until 6 a.m. on May 22. Emmet Street will also close for two nights in June to accommodate the installation of the support beams for the new bridge.
At other times, Emmet Street traffic may be temporarily reduced to a single lane. Those closures will take place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and flaggers will direct traffic.
The $524,000 rehabilitation will hamper pedestrian traffic and alternate routes have been marked. Pedestrian detours include the Ruffner Pedestrian Bridge over Emmet Street and crosswalks spanning the Emmet Street near its intersection with Stadium Road and near the Central Grounds Parking Garage.
The University and VDOT have posted message boards and detour signs promoting alternate routes for pedestrians during the closure.
The new bridge surface will be a mixture of concrete and latex, with drainage grooves cut into the surface. The rehabilitated bridge will remain the same length and width and have sidewalks similar to the current structure. Contractors are planning to install open cathedral railings, similar to what has been there.
The bridge was built in 1931, widened in 1951 and further repaired in 1981. In May 2012, inspectors discovered significant deterioration of the bridge’s deck. VDOT made emergency repairs and installed shielding under the bridge to protect vehicles on Emmet Street from any falling debris.
The bridge was posted with an eight-ton weight limit in July 2012, and the University Transit System re-routed buses to avoid the bridge. At that weight, many emergency vehicles have been barred from using the bridge as well.
Once this summer’s repairs are complete, the bridge will have no weight limit, VDOT spokesperson Lou Hatter said, and bus service along McCormick Road will be fully restored.