TODAY'S NEWS

Traffic shift coming for South Fork bridge

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The new bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River will soon open to northbound traffic and the Virginia Department of Transportation attributes that to the warm December we experienced.

The target date is Monday, though that is subject to change, VDOT spokesman Ken Slack said Tuesday.

Last month, Slack told The Sentinel the switch probably would take place in February. That estimate was based on the uncertainty of winter weather.

"A lot of the question about the actual traffic switch was whether they would get some good paving days," VDOT spokesman Ken Slack said. "Once you hit December, you never know if youíre going to be able to do any paving or not."

With Decemberís average high temperature at the Front Royal Regional Airport at about 57 degrees, there were plenty of good paving days.

Once the bridge opens, northbound motorists on Shenandoah Avenue will have to veer to the right near the intersection with 17th Street. Once they cross the bridge, they will have to veer back to the left to continue northbound on Winchester Road.

In addition to paving, contractors have been working on the railings and approaches to the new bridge in recent weeks, he said.

In fact, more work needs to be done on the southbound approach, which is why those motorists will continue to use the old bridge for a few more weeks.

Work on the southbound approach includes a realignment of the intersection with Strasburg Road (Va. 55).

Once all traffic has moved to the new bridge, the old one — built in 1941 with an expected 50-year life span — will be dismantled and workers will complete the final two lanes of the new bridge in its place.

G.A. and F.C. Wagman of York, Pa., is the primary contractor on the $72.2 million project, which started two years ago and is expected to last about two more years.

"I wouldnít necessarily say they're ahead of schedule but they are certainly right on target to where they need to be," Slack said.

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