A year and a half after its removal was approved by the previous Board of Supervisors, sitting supervisors have approved a contract for the demolition of the Goose Creek Bridge, but for hundreds of thousands of dollars more than anticipated.
Supervisors Wednesday night voted unanimously to approve a $648,500 contract with Shirley Contracting Company to demolish the steel truss bridge, which was built in 1932.
In July 2011, the previous board voted to move forward with demolition of the bridge to the tune of $195,000. Supervisors voted for demolition of the bridge rather than spending the around $1.6 million it would take to restore the structure.
However, the need for risk management in the demolition of the bridge has brought the price up by around $435,000. According to the county’s information, the lack of existing bridge drawings to confirm the sizes of the bridge’s structural members means neither the contractor nor the county can prepare a load rating for the bridge. That means the contractor cannot safely place heavy equipment on the bridge, and larger and more expensive equipment must be used to demolish the bridge safely. In addition, the project site is constrained with access to the east side of the bridge limited because of the Rt. 7 bridges.
Built in 1932 to carry Rt. 7 traffic over the Goose Creek, the bridge has fallen into disrepair since vehicular traffic ended on the bridge in the late 1980s when Rt. 7 was widened with a new alignment and a new bridge.
The bridge is part of the Keep Loudoun Beautiful Park and is used as a scenic overlook for visitors and hikers. It also is part of the National Park Service's Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network. The bridge and three acres were acquired by the county from the Virginia Department of Transportation in 1992, in a first bid by county supervisors to save the structure from demolition.
In 2005, as part of a rehabilitation design contract, an inspection of the bridge was conducted and the repair recommendations stemming from that review were the foundation for a federal SAFETEA-LU grant to rehabilitate the bridge. But the county determined the amount of the grant would not be enough to repair the bridge and a previous Board of Supervisors declined to allocate any additional money in the Capital Improvements Program in FY06 or FY07 when county staff members presented it as an option.
In April 2010, the remaining $789,000 in the SAFETEA-LU grant expired and was reallocated to other projects in Virginia.