August 12, 2005

It's official.

After an initial struggle to save it from the wrecking ball, the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) work is complete on the revitalized Clarkton Bridge over the Staunton River -connecting Charlotte and Halifax Counties.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for noon on October 7.

"This project has been a real challenge," said J. D. Barkley, II, Halifax Residency Administrator. "I really appreciate the support and efforts of those involved - the various VDOT offices and employees, the Clarkton Bridge Alliance, other state agencies and the community. This project will continue to be a tribute to this partnership for years to come."
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Signs designed specifically for the site will let visitors know the bridge may be used by bicyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. Additional signs and barricades alert motorists to the closing of Route 620 to vehicular traffic.
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"Visitors to the area will recognize and appreciate the unique and detailed workmanship on this structure as they participate in walking, riding, bicycling and ,birding activities in the Charlotte and Halifax countryside," he added.

In 2004, VDOT, under the direction of former Commissioner Philip Shucet, VDOT and the Clarkton Bridge Alliance began working together to reconstruct the aging structure as a pedestrian bridge. The Alliance, utilizing the design skills of Swartz & Associates and the construction expertise of English Construction Co.,Inc., paid for and performed the design work and substructure repair on the "new" bridge, with input from the VDOT's Lynchburg District Structures and Bridge section.

As a next step, crews from VDOT's Halifax Residency and Haymes Brothers Construction, as well as inmates with the Virginia Department of Corrections completed the superstructure work, adding a pedestrian railing and replacing the bridge deck.

That work is complete and the structure is ready for public use.

New plaques adjacent to the bridge will recognize the original 1902 construction and the 2005 rehabilitation project partnership between VDOT and the Clarkton Bridge Alliance.

Signs designed specifically for the site will let visitors know the bridge may be used by bicyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. Additional signs and barricades alert motorists to the closing of Route 620 to vehicular traffic.

According to Halifax Attorney W. W. "Ted" Bennett, Jr., who worked to save the structure, "The supporters of saving Clarkton Bridge cannot thank enough Commissoner Shucet, all of the VDOT personnel and employees and English Construction Company and others for coming together in this great partnership effort to not just save, the bridge, but to adapt it to pedestrian, equestrian and bicycling use and enjoyment for ages to come. I don't believe I can remember participating in many more enjoyable and fruitful partnerships with such high caliber people than this before."
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