Bridge construction could cause 'traffic headaches'
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on a new Pigg River Bridge on South Main Street in Rocky Mount, near the Veterans' Memorial Park.

Bids will be taken soon by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and construction could begin by July, said Matt Hankins, assistant town manager.

Traffic will be maintained during the construction, Hankins said, but there will be restrictions. Hankins told town council that meetings will be held with industries in Rocky Mount to advise them of the traffic restrictions and make suggestions for dealing with them.

"We could have serious traffic headaches" for more than two years while the bridge is under construction.

The current bridge over Pigg River was built in 1928. It is a 174-foot-long concrete arch bridge with 10.5-foot lanes and one-foot shoulders.

The new bridge will be wider than the current bridge.

Town Council voted to approve an agreement with VDOT for the relocation of the town's water and wastewater facilities crossing the Pigg River. These facilities will need to be relocated when the Pigg River Bridge is replaced.

The agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the relocation, said Town Manager James Ervin. Under the agreement, VDOT will pay 98 percent of the cost for relocating the water and the wastewater facilities. The town will have to pay the remaining 2 percent of the cost.

The town will perform certain incidental work in conjunction with the utility work, such as the operation of all valves and the inspection of the relocated facilities.

At one point, it appeared the bridge might be years away because of the state's financial troubles.

Six years ago, a public hearing was held on the bridge project, and town council approved a resolution of support for the project. At that time, the schedule called for the project to be advertised for bids in 2008.

However, that timetable got pushed back when the state began facing financial issues several years ago with less money for highway projects statewide.

Just when town officials thought that the long-needed bridge project might be years or even decades away, they received a pleasant surprise late last year that VDOT would start the bridge project this year.
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