VDOT Reduces McCormick Road Bridge Weight Limit to 8 Tons

July 12, 2012 — The Virginia Department of Transportation has posted a reduced weight limit on the McCormick Road Bridge that spans Emmet Street at the University of Virginia. Vehicles weighing more than 8 tons are prohibited from crossing the bridge.

The weight limit bars buses, many commercial trucks and emergency vehicles. Emergency and service vehicles will have access via either end of McCormick Road, from University Avenue or from Alderman Road. The University Transit Service is detouring its Central Grounds buses to avoid the bridge. The detour affects the Northline, University Loop and the Central Grounds Shuttle routes and bus stops along McCormick.

Specifics of the UTS detour can be found here.

VDOT officials said the weight restriction will be in effect until permanent repairs are made or the bridge is replaced. Engineers are evaluating the bridge and will determine the best option to restore all traffic to the span.

UTS riders should plan for a disruption of several months, according to a notice from Rebecca White, director of Parking and Transportation. Unscheduled changes to service and other announcements affecting the UTS bus system are distributed via a subscription-based email alert system, UTS411.

Significant deterioration of the bridge's deck was discovered in late May and emergency repairs were made. Shielding was placed on the underside of the bridge in order to protect motorists on Emmet Street from debris.

The steel-beam, concrete-deck bridge was built in 1931 to connect the main part of Grounds with Scott Stadium, extending over the service road that is now Emmet Street. The bridge was widened in 1951 as the Grounds spread westward and the McCormick Road residence halls were constructed. The bridge also received major repairs in 1981.

The bridge is inspected every year according to National Bridge Inspection Standards.

The bridge carries as many of 2,000 pedestrians per hour, as well as transit vehicles, U.Va. service vehicles, bicycles and emergency equipment, according to a 2010 report prepared for the University by Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., landscape architects from Boston.

– by Matt Kelly