ROCKLAND – A new bridge spanning Morgan’s Ford in the Rockland area of Warren County opens Monday, January 22, County Administrator Doug Stanley unexpectedly announced Friday. The opening is about 4-1/2 months ahead of the originally-forecast early June target date. Stanley made the announcement to applause at the regular Friday luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Front Royal.
Stanley said finishing touches still need to be made to the two-lane span, locally known for 85 years as “Morgan’s Ford low-water bridge”. However, the plan is for the new bridge to open to traffic Monday morning, re-connecting the Fairground Road area of Rockland with Happy Creek Road to the south. It will restore an alternate and more direct route into and out of town for residents of the Rockland/Milldale area north of town and the Shenandoah River.
The estimated $10-million project replaces the historic single-lane bridge over the Shenandoah River which closed in April 2015 when new construction began. In early December Stanley said the structure was “running ahead of schedule” and indicated a possible opening prior to the end of 2017. While that target wasn’t achieved, three weeks into the new year and over four months early isn’t bad either.
In a press release issued late Friday afternoon, VDOT noted that contractors will continue work on the Route 624 bridge project through late spring. That work will include “a final layer of asphalt on the bridge approaches, installation of final pavement markings, aesthetic treatments on the bridge railings, grading and seeding on both sides of the bridge, and construction of a parking area on the south side of the river.”
VDOT also observed that motorists can expect single-lane traffic and flagging operations as needed during the final months of the project. That work will generally occur Monday thru Friday and VDOT urged motorists to plan for potential delays and remain alert as they travel through the work zone.
The new bridge and Route 624 to the north will have a restriction on trucks exceeding 30 feet in total length. This restriction will remain in place even after the construction project is complete, VDOT noted, stating, “Truck drivers should continue to use alternate routes.”
On January 29, 2016, the Virginia Department of Transportation awarded a $4,886,508.07 contract to Orders Construction Company Inc. of Saint Albans, West Virginia. The project had a fixed completion date of June 1, 2018.
Additional information about the Route 624 bridge replacement project can be found here.