I am asking you to write to your representatives again. [click link for resources]
Encourage them to Tell VDOT "Oh Hell NO! ~ No more repairs we want a New Bridge."
A revised Funding application must be submitted by September 30, 2016.
The NNPDC under advisement from VDOT is processing an application to replace the SUPERSTRUCTURE only. [Not a new Bridge-->a retooled Bridge]
VDOT examined their options and had the choice to take the same 7-10 years in planning, studies, design, permitting, and construction:
Option A-spend $400 million on a new modern bridge
Option B-spend $250 million on refurbishing the SUPERSTRUCTURE ONLY
**Either option still requires "Painting" the remaining deteriorated portions of the bridge Superstructure in 2016-17 for $9 million.
Option B does not include remedial work necessary for the exisiting piers.
**After the $250 million the 'refreshed' bridge will still be 'Functionally Obsolete' by VDOT's own definitions if the Superstructure replacement follow's VDOT Project need parameters.
On Friday 8/26 I had a lengthy phone call with Marcie Parker of VDOT.
She reached out to me after I sent an inquiry asking for clarification of the information found on the preliminary funding application which expressed a "Superstructure Only-everything but the foundations."
I expressed the fact that we all understand constraints, but a new bridge is an investment in the Economic Development of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
A refurbished bridge is not.
We discussed the fact that many of the big picture aspects of planning, design, & permitting for each project option are similar.
The on-going impacts to transportation for either construction option will be significant while the net effect of the two potential finished products are quite different.
VDOT states that Route 3 does not have the traffic volume to justify replacement.
VDOT has a belief that the funding is better spent on I-95.
The Route 3 / Norris Bridge corridor is just as deserving of funding consideration as 1-95. Traffic volume has little to do with the considerations for funding in a rural area, where Economic Development is more significant to prioritization.
I-95 and Route 3 are two succinct classes of roadway.
One is interstate travel, the other is local, regional and cross town in nature.
Each has a succinct set of funding streams.
Sort out the numbers which represent local traffic on I-95 as percentage of miles driven by the local resident of NVA, then we can talk about Route 3 relative to I-95.
Otherwise you are comparing two entirely different transportation assets.
The reason for travel on Route 3 is not the same as the reason for travel I-95. Comparing Route 3 to I-95 it is like comparing apples to oranges.
VDOT's attempt to compare the Route 3 traffic census with the I-95 traffic census is using project selection logic from 2005 applied to a 2017 project selection process.
Using this 'VDOT logic' no new roadway projects would be funded.
Using 'VDOT logic'the Norris Bridge never would have been built:
The current daily census for the Norris bridge is somewhere around the 11,500 mark. The Norris bridge replaced the Ferry system. At the time the Norris bridge opened the daily census for the Rappahannock river transit was reportedly 575 cars per day on average.
Applying current 'VDOT logic' in 1947 this region did not have the traffic volume to support a $15 million dollar bridge. This area was falling behind in the growing Virginia Economy after WWII.
In the 1940's our leaders understood the significance of a river crossing to our region beyond simple traffic volume. Today the functionally obsolete Norris bridge falls squarely on the shoulders of our leadership and it should be replaced for many of the same reasons as the when the Norris bridge was funded nearly 80 years ago. Traffic volumes are only part of the picture.
Traffic volume is only part of the picture in Project Funding Decisions.
Smart Scale recognizes this.
In 2016 the funding decision paradigm or Prioritization is "SMART SCALE". Smart Scale defines Project funding selection this way:
The 7/28/16 Rappahannock Record article 'SCC rules Dominion must address two additional alternatives for replacing the transmission lines crossing the Rappahannock' by Audrey Thomasson presents an interesting turn of events for both the Bridge replacement effort and the No Towers effort. One of the two alternatives endorsed is burial of the transmission lines, the second is attaching them to the Norris Bridge.
Lancaster county submitted an affidavit during the SCC hearings from bridge engineer Michael A. Mathews P.E. containing minutes of his meeting last year with senior VDOT engineers. In the minutes VDOT indicated replacing the bridge is a low priority and that VDOT would “consider a cooperative effort with Dominion to undertake repairs and/or renovations of the Norris Bridge that would include attachment of the transmission lines” to the bridge.
Dominion responded by stating attaching to the bridge would not be prudent “…when the future of that existing structure is uncertain.” In all honesty you can’t begrudge Dominion this position. If they anchor to the Norris Bridge which has a limited and uncertain life span the cost to anchor now and relocate in the future would neither be a sound financial decision nor responsible to shareholders.
Since last year things have changed with the status of the bridge replacement. With the submittal of the (currently in progress) funding application in September 2016 the priority will very likely shift to high priority by VDOT & planning for the bridge replacement will impact Dominion's current proposed Tower layout. Towers would complicate construction of the replacement bridge and a replacement bridge would complicate the construction of towers. So the SCC proposed alternatives are genuinely spot on; Dominion either buries the lines per their construction timeline in the next 12-18 months or Dominion waits until the new bridge is built and attach the Transmission lines to the new structure.
Both Dominion and VDOT have a pretty clear path to resolution of the No Towers mandate. In light of VDOT’s willingness to participate in a cooperative effort with Dominion and the 6/30/16 Lancaster County Board of Supervisors resolution to replace the Norris Bridge the solution seems pretty logical. That solution is: start designing the New Gateway that will replace the Norris Bridge to include the Dominion Power transmission lines attached to the new bridge structure; work together with synergy to solve a problem in common~New Bridge ~ New Transmission Lines~Shine the light on a logical solution.
[Click photo below to read Audrey Thomasson's 7/28/16 Rappahannock Record Article]