Sunday, October 26, 2014

Roadwork delays traffic

Bridge — Bridge construction is expected to delay traffic for an indefinite time. Photo credit: Victoria Pearce

Drivers encouraged to avoid Candler’s Road mall entrance

Last Wednesday, construction began on the new Candlers Mountain bridge. Those traveling in the area should not expect to see both lanes of the bridge open for quite some time. The bridge is in need of various repairs since its initial construction in 1958.

“The old deck has to come off, and there is some borderline work that needs to be done. We are replacing one line of beams. There’s also some work under the bridge that needs to be done as well,” Area Construction Engineer Todd Bolling said.

According to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), unlike most local construction, the City of Lynchburg is not financially responsible for the project.

“Because that is a national route, we are using the federal funds to do the bridge,” VDOT spokeswoman Paula Jones said.

Nearly 40,000 people will be affected by the construction, as it requires one lane of the westbound side of Candlers Mountain Road be closed off.

Bolling describes the construction’s two-phase process.

“One phase will be the inside, the left lane, and then traffic will be switched to the new deck, and then we will go to the right lane and do that one,” Bolling said.

VDOT encourages travelers to use alternate routes.

“Liberty University students should be aware that this construction will take place during the time of graduation,” Bolling said. “The left hand turn lane onto 460 Westbound will not be there into the mall. Those wanting to eat within the mall or along Wards Road should follow the detour signs that go up to Wells Fargo and circle around to the traffic signal. There are access points in other places off of Wards Road to get to the mall and the restaurants in the area.”

The project will not end anytime soon. According to Bolling, the goal is to open both lanes of traffic by November and complete the entire project by the end of the year. Opening the bridge will alleviate traffic congestion and once again allow Lynchburg residents easier access to River Ridge Mall.

“We are anticipating having the bridge open for traffic by Thanksgiving of this year,” Bolling said.

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