This week, traffic will be shifted to the newly constructed Route 677 (Watauga Road) bridge over Fifteenmile Creek in Washington County.
Construction of the new bridge, which sits east of Watauga Elementary School, began in November and is valued at approximately $1.6 million. The arched bridge design used is new to southwest Virginia.
Although the design is unique, motorists will not notice the difference from above. But they may notice the improvement in the quality of the ride across the new bridge.
“The new bridge is a great improvement because it removed a bad horizontal and vertical alignment of the roadway, as well as replaced the old steel deck bridge that could give you a bit of a jolt when you crossed it,” said John Dew, P.E., VDOT Area Construction Engineer.
The bridge beams were constructed off-site and delivered to Route 677, saving construction time by eliminating the need to pour concrete onsite and wait for it to cure.
The base for the bridge piers was constructed on site, then the precast beams were installed using a large crane. Fill material was then brought in to build up the roadbed for the approaches to the bridge.
Motorists should be alert to the possibility of flaggers controlling traffic in the area this week as the new and final traffic pattern is established.