South Stafford’s Chatham Bridge is expected to close in June 2020 and will remain closed until fall 2021. Traffic will be detoured for an estimated 16 to 18 months for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to complete the major improvements needed in this bridge superstructure replacement project.
Built in 1941, the Chatham Bridge sees an average of 16,000 cars per day and is a connector between Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg. The $23.4 million rehabilitation project, funded by Virginia’s State of Good Repair program, will make it safer and more accessible for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to cross the structure. The new bridge structure will also allow for the removal of the weight restriction that currently prevents heavier-weight emergency service vehicles and some commercial delivery trucks from crossing the river.
River Road and Route 3/King’s Highway Intersection
During construction, motorists may turn left onto Route 3 East from River Road. No right turn will be allowed as the bridge will be closed. Motorists traveling west on Route 3 can turn right on River Road. The completed project will introduce a “pork chop” island to the intersection. If you imagine the shape of a pork chop, the long bone is the road into Fredericksburg. The slanted right side is the turn lane onto River Road. Motorists going west on Route 3 may turn right on River Road or continue straight across the bridge into Fredericksburg. Motorists exiting River Road may only turn right: there will be no left turn onto Route 3 East. Drivers coming from Fredericksburg, going east on the bridge, will not be able to turn left to go down River Road.
Route 1/Falmouth Bridge
As the Falmouth Bridge will be handling more traffic during the closure, officials will closely monitor congestion throughout the project. They will adjust traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic.
Pratt Park Access
Access to John Lee Pratt Memorial Park will remain open. Residents exiting the park will be able to turn right or left onto River Road. Again, once the project is completed, there will be no left turn from River Road onto Route 3. Drivers will be forced to turn right and cross the bridge into Fredericksburg. Boaters will be able to continue to travel under the bridge, but river users should exercise caution and follow warning buoys around the causeway.
After this project, residents will be able to enjoy a safer and smoother bridge surface with a ten-foot-wide shared-use path separated from vehicle traffic by a barrier. The bridge path will feature a scenic overlook and will connect with the fully paved Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail that runs from the Historic Port of Falmouth through Brooke Park to Pratt Park in southern Stafford County.
To learn more, find the latest information and watch a live stream of the bridge project throughout the repair effort, please visit the project website at virginiadot.org/chathambridge.