LYNCHBURG, Va. -

The Snowden bridge over the James River is one of the only legal ways for large trucks to access the Georgia Pacific paper mill in Bedford County.

"About 50 percent of the trucks that come in and go out of the mill go over that bridge," said Zoe Miles, a Georgia Pacific spokesperson.

The bridge has presented a lot of problems in recent years.  It's more than 80 years old and the Virginia Department of Transportation has deemed it "structurally deficient."

"You can feel it move when you drive over it in a car, so I'm sure it causes truck drivers some concern," Miles said.

State officials approved funding Wednesday to replace the bridge.

A new structure will built farther east along the river.  A segment of Route 501 in Bedford County will also be reconstructed, allowing engineers to remove some dangerous curves.

VDOT consulted closely with Georgia Pacific to plan the improvements.

"We are absolutely delighted it is going to be replaced," said Miles.

In selecting the project for funding, state officials looked at how it would protect jobs and enhance safety.

"They're looking at projects that have a significant impact on mobility and economic development," said Paula Jones, public affairs manager for VDOT's Lynchburg district.

A project in Lynchburg is designed to meet that criteria.  Odd Fellows Road will be extended with a new interchange at Route 460.

"With the interchange there will be an economic development opportunity," Jones said.  "There is some land available in the area."

The road will also take traffic off congested corridors like Candlers Mountain Road and Campbell Avenue, giving drivers a safer and easier way to get around.

"It's great not just for Lynchburg.  It's great for the region," Jones said.

Along with the Odd Fellows Road improvement, work will also be done to widen a section of Greenview Drive in Lynchburg.  Both of those projects alone are expected to cost around $52-million dollars.