Lynchburg bridge to shut down for replacement project

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- In Lynchburg, city leaders are preparing to spend more than a million dollars to replace a bridge.

Indian Hill Road Bridge (WDBJ7)

Project leaders says they'll have to close part of road during the project, which may create a long detour for people who live in one neighborhood.

"It's a constant thumping," said Cora Parks, describing what she hears when a vehicles crosses the Indian Hill Road Bridge.

Parks lives right next to the bridge and says it has sounded like that for about a year. "Ahh, you get used to it after a while," she laughed.

The sound comes from a steel plate which is covering a large hole in the nearly 60-year-old bridge.

City leaders say it's now time to replace the whole thing. "The concretes just falling apart, the reinforcing steel is rusting," explained Joseph Smith, the project manager for the bridge.

In order to get the project done quicker and for a smaller price tag, Smith says they'll need to close the bridge.

But, he says it's necessary because the bridge's weight limit ratings are below state standards for most large vehicles. "And then it gets into emergency vehicles, and it's less than what it should be," he added.

Right now, the bridge - which sees around 1,900 vehicles a day - cannot handle anything over 28 tons.

Smith says the project will add improvements such as wider lanes and a new pedestrian lane. "It's only about 24 feet of deck right now so you get these little narrow, two 12-foot lanes and it's not very friendly if anybody's trying to walk across the bridge because you've got nowhere to go if a car shows up," Smith explained.

Construction is scheduled to start next year.

City leaders say the project is expected to take eight months to complete.