01/14/10: “Detours Set for Bridge Work,” The Free Lance-Star

Detours set for bridge work
U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg to completely close this weekend in Fredericksburg between College Avenue and Alvey Drive

If you planned to drive on U.S. 1 through Fredericksburg Friday night, Saturday or Sunday morning, you’ll need to find another way through the city.

U.S. 1 between College Avenue and Alvey Drive will close to all traffic at 8 p.m. tomorrow and stay closed through noon Sunday.

The University of Mary Washington is building a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 north of College Avenue at Eagle Village, where a parking garage and new residence hall are under construction.

Building the walkway requires joining two steel structures over all of the U.S. 1 travel lanes.

A number of detours are available.

The city has been running a widespread campaign for weeks to warn people to drive another way. Digital street signs went up on Monday to notify passers-by. The city will use its reverse 911 phone system today to call residents and alert them to the shutdown.

The city and university picked Jan. 15-17 for the closing because it was well timed for the project’s schedule and because it overlaps with a holiday weekend, when there is less weekday work traffic, said Doug Fawcett, director of the Fredericksburg Public Works Department.

State offices are closed tomorrow for Lee-Jackson Day, and Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday for federal and state offices, UMW, and public schools.

While the 40-hour closing is an inconvenience, Fawcett said the public will benefit from the pedestrian bridge for “years and years.”

The bridge is expected to open in August.

Those most concerned about weekend access to U.S. 1 may be anyone driving to nearby Mary Washington Hospital.

Roads leading to the hospital campus will remain open throughout the weekend. Southbound traffic on U.S. 1 will see no difference. Those vehicles can still turn right from U.S. 1 onto Mary Washington Boulevard.

Hospital-bound traffic on U.S. 1 north should turn left onto Cowan Boulevard, then right at Mary Washington Boulevard.

If drivers are not destined for the hospital, they should take a different detour, keeping the hospital’s roundabout and two-lane roads clear for emergency vehicles and hospital staff, Fawcett said.

Eagle Village shopping center will remain open all weekend. Shoppers should use Augustine Avenue to enter.

Fans planning to attend the UMW women’s and men’s basketball games against Marymount University on Saturday can access the university parking garage on Alvey Drive if they approach it driving southbound on U.S. 1. Northbound drivers can access Alvey Drive through the university’s gate on Sunken Road.

Since U.S. 1 becomes the default detour for Interstate 95 in an emergency, city and university officials have developed a contingency plan for an I-95 incident.

If I-95 closes over the weekend, the northbound lanes of U.S. 1 could be reopened during the roadwork, Fawcett said. Those lanes could carry northbound traffic, southbound traffic, or one lane in each direction, Fawcett said.

If the city must extend the closing beyond noon Sunday, a message will be posted online at fredericksburg va.gov and announced on radio stations.

Kelly Hannon: (540) 374-5436
Email: khannon@freelancestar.com
Published: January 14, 2010

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