Concerns expressed over Gwynn’s Island bridge

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Oct 26, 2011 - 04:00 PM

Shocked over recent news that the capacity of the Gwynn’s Island bridge had been reduced to just 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 15 tons for tractor-trailers, Mathews supervisors sharply questioned Virginia Department of Transportation representatives at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Supervisor Janine Burns said she had a problem understanding how a bridge that regularly undergoes inspection went from acceptable to restricted in a year’s time.

"I don’t see how it went from ‘okay’ to ‘crisis’ overnight," she said.

VDOT district bridge engineer Annette Adams said it wasn’t overnight for her. She said the bridge was inspected in July 2010 and July 2011, but that negotiations for the design and repair began before July 2011. Adams said that district-wide priorities had to be set because of the limited resources available.

"You look at a sufficiency rating of 46 (which the Gwynn’s Island bridge has) and another bridge has a sufficiency rating of six," she said.