Safety of JPA Bridge Questioned

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

August 27, 2007

The Jefferson Park Avenue Bridge has helped folks cross the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks for the past 75 years and in 2010 it'll be replaced. However, some say that won't be quick enough. They fear the cracked, worn-down bridge will worsen before V-DOT takes up the project three years from now. Mayor David Brown and others who live close by disagree.

“Everybody as far as people that I’ve talked to feel very secure with the safety of the bridge I guess the only concern at this point is the adhering and the enforcing to the eight ton limit,” said Adrienne Dent, board member of the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association.

“I anticipate that the bridge will continue to be safe for pedestrian cars, safe for small trucks. But if you're 8,000 pounds or more, you need to stay off that bridge,” said Charlottesville Mayor, David Brown. “You need to find alternative routes. That includes garbage trucks, you know of course it includes our fire trucks.”

Mayor Brown added the bridge is subject to inspection every six months and if the inspection ever turned up anything critical, he could work with V-DOT to move construction up from 2010.

“We have an inspection coming up again within the month and if situations change we'll make sure it continues to be safe, whatever that requires,” Brown said.

The mayor said his background as a chiropractor doesn't make him an expert on bridge safety, but he said he's in close contact with engineers about all things that may impact Charlottesville.

A federal rating of the bridge gives it a two out of 100, yet still the bridge is officially considered safe.

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