It’s a matter of pride that Rappahannock County is so rural that it doesn’t have a single stoplight. Well, that is no longer true, at least for a few months. In May, VDOT installed a three-way traffic signal at U.S. 522 and Oaklands Lane just north of Flint Hill while crews rehabilitate the bridge over Wilson Branch.
The project will be done in phases to maintain a single 12-foot travel lane, with the temporary signals allowing north- and southbound motorists to take turns crossing the bridge.
VDOT spokesperson Stacy Londrey said construction began in late March and is expected to wrap up in November, but the signal will come down in mid-October. “This bridge was starting to decline to the point that we would have had to reduce the weight limit for vehicles using that stretch of 522,” said Londrey.
The existing bridge’s superstructure will be replaced with a pre-stressed concrete slab bridge with asphalt overlay. The restored bridge will be 28 feet wide, four feet wider than it is now, and will “bring the bridge up to current design standards,” she said. “The traffic signal does cause some delay, but it is a good way to maintain the use of the road and not detour people miles out of the way.”
The existing concrete T-beam bridge was built in 1923. About 3,700 vehicles use this segment of U.S. 522 daily, according to a 2015 traffic count. Additional information about the project is on VDOT’s website at virginiadot.org/projects/culpeper/wilsonbranch.asp.