The Jack Higgs bridge in Waynesboro set to close all motor vehicle access on June 14

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - The Jack Higgs bridge off of 4th Street in Waynesboro will shut down all motor vehicle access on June 14.

The bridge was built in 1910 and has been considered in “poor” condition since 2007. In 2008, the bridge’s timber surface was replaced but that wasn’t enough to bring it in good condition.

“The last major repairs were in 2008,” Trafford McRae, director of public works in Waynesboro, said. “That did not actually improve the condition of the bridge, it just bought us about 15 years.

The bridge served as a connection to Route 340 above the Norfolk Southern railroad. McRae said that renovations cost significantly more because of the railroad beneath the bridge.

Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the bridge. McRae said the change will prolong the life of the bridge “indefinitely.”

McRae said the plan is to install concrete barriers on both sides of the bridge to prevent vehicle access, he said the total cost to the city would be around $5,000.

In 2016, Waynesboro public works estimated the cost of a complete renovation of the bridge to be around $8 million. McRae said that would come to around $10 million with prices in 2023. He also said a complete demolition of the bridge would cost $500,000, so limiting the bridge to only foot traffic and bike traffic was the most “cost-effective” project.

McRae said traffic would not be heavily influenced by this change, he offered different paths to get across the Norfolk Southern railway.

“There are a couple of different alternate ways to cross Norfolk Southern,” McRae said. “Second street, which is two blocks to the north, is a major road that has a cross over Norfolk Southern and East Main Street has an underpass that goes under the railroad.”

McRae said the installation of the concrete barriers should not take more than a day, and that installation is scheduled for June 14. He also said that public works is in the process of removing the bridge as a road on GPS’ and smart phone navigation apps to avoid confusion.