Press Release with Historical Timeline
Download Press Release - PDF (posted 3.3.17)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TOWN RECEIVES NEARLY $2 MILLION
IN ADDITIONAL BRIDGE FUNDING
On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at its monthly Work Session, the Luray Town Council was notified by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that they were recipients of $1,953,030 of State of Good Repair (SGR) funds through the state’s new competitive application and project funding process. These funds require no local match. On February 16, 2017, the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board voted to allocate SGR funds statewide, and Luray’s project was one of the fortunate recipients.
These funds are in addition to the $2,025,427 Federal Transportation Grant that the Town received in 2012. With these additional funds, the bridge project is now fully-funded, and can proceed to advertisement.
Michael Fulcher, Program Manager with VDOT’s Staunton District Office, made the announcement at the Work Session. Mr. Fulcher indicated that he was proceeding with funding verification, and authorization to proceed, from the state and federal transportation authorities. Since the project will be using federal grant monies, both agencies must review and approve all major project milestones.
Mayor Barry Presgraves thanked Mr. Fulcher for his assistance and advice, and for working with the Town closely during the projects continued development. Mayor Presgraves commented, “on behalf of the Council and the Town citizens, I want to thank you and VDOT for this additional funding, and for all of your hard work during this process”.
The Town had received VDOT Revenue Sharing funds in 2016 for this project in the same amount, but those funds are 50/50 match funds, with the Town being required to contribute half of the total. The use of the SGR funds in lieu of the previously allocated Revenue Sharing Funds will save the Town $976,515 in direct project costs. This was a fact not lost on Council, or the assembled citizens.
The Town’s bridge management team was present for the announcement – the final evidence of a key effort over the past fourteen months. Project Manager, Patrick Racey, P.E., Project Engineer, Tyler Austin, P.E., (both of Racey Engineering located in Luray) and Bryan Chrisman, Assistant Town Manager were seen to smile and nod as Mr. Fulcher completed his remarks.
Mr. Chrisman stated that he “appreciated the support of the Mayor and Council in the making of the tough decisions on project funding and scheduling”. He went on to note that the progress of the project, or this additional funding, wouldn’t have been possible if not for the efforts of so many, including Mr. Dixon Whitworth, the Staunton District CTB member, Mr. Randy Kiser, P.E. Staunton District Administrator, Mr. Don Komara, P.E. Harrisonburg Residency Administrator, Mr. Fulcher, the Project Coordinator, Mr. Racey and Mr. Austin among others. Mr. Chrisman specifically mentioned the continued guidance of Mr. Racey, and the analysis work created by Mr. Austin that “allowed the Town to evaluate and choose its best funding option when compared to other applicant’s submittals”.
The Town also expressed its thanks to Congressman Bob Goodlatte and staff, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane, VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick, P.E., and to VDOT Chief Engineer Garrett Moore, P.E., for their support and assistance in the continuation of this important infrastructure project.
The Town Council elected to delay the project while the Bridge Management Team pursued this new funding source. This decision to delay was a difficult one for both the Council and the Management Team, but the possibility of 100% funding with no local match requirement was very enticing.
The Town will be able to use the still-available Revenue Sharing Funds on the critical Main Street Bridge Replacement Project as needed, or transfer it to other transportation-related projects in Luray. Two projects currently in the works are intersection improvements and a roundabout on West Main Street at Northcott Drive, as well as intersection and travel corridor improvements on Memorial Drive, with a new stop light at the intersection with West Main Street. The West Main Intersection Improvement Projects consists of several smaller projects, and is slated to begin in 2019 by VDOT. The Memorial Drive Corridor Improvement project will be begin in mid-to-late 2017, with work by a Town contractor.
The next steps for the bridge project will be to obtain final approval from VDOT and the FHWA, obtain a Request for Proposals on the street, and begin interviewing and hiring a Design-Build Contract Team. Project construction is slated to begin in early 2018, and will impact a significant part of Luray’s downtown business and historic district.
When contacted later, Mayor Presgraves offered a summary of the evening’s happy news by saying, “it’s not every day that we get to save the town taxpayers nearly a million dollars on a capital project. I’m very proud of our people, and very happy that we have such good partners in VDOT”.
Download Press Release - PDF (posted 6.13.14)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Town of Luray’s West Main Street Bridge Undergoing New Design While Reflecting on the Bridge’s Rich History
LURAY, VA., June, 2014 – Though the current West Main Street Bridge in the Town of Luray was constructed by the Virginia Department of Transportation in 1934, the history of the bridge dates back well into the 1800s. As the bridge undergoes a new design to begin in 2016, the Town of Luray reflects on the bridge’s fascinating history.
Combing through local records and historical archives, Dan Vaughn worked to compile historical data and photographs from a number of sources, including the YESTERYEARS series of archived news from the Page News and Courier.
From the Page News & Courier YESTERYEARS, 1883, a comment read:
“Can’t we have a foot bridge across the Hawksbill to avoid the mixing of pedestrians with horses, cattle and vehicles?”
It was a question that was reinforced just a year later. On April 7, 1884, the paper published an article stating:
No improvement that can be effected at a small cost would be so useful and convenient as the building of a footway on the south of the bridge across the Hawksbill in this place. As intimated above it could be built at a trifling cost and certainly the vast increase of travel across the bridge – wagons, carriages and hacks – it would conduce greatly to the comfort and safety of the large number of our citizens and visitors to the town who are compelled now to cross on the bridge. Will our council look into this matter?”
Following up, steps were indeed taken as a Christmas Day article in 1884 from the Page News and Courier reported:
Advance steps to the front this time in the interest of pedestrians of Luray. We have a bridge which is of more importance to our people than the famous bridge uniting New York and Brooklyn. It furnishes a way for hacks, wagons and footmen over the beautiful Hawksbill stream. It is a part of Main Street, about the center of town. Will not our council add to the comfort and safety of them who do not always ride, by extending the sidewalk on the right of the street going east in a straight line across the stream? This would make it a part of the bridge proper, and the wall of the bridge now would serve as a partition between the walkers and the riders.
As developments of the bridge continued from 1884, citizens remained interested in the bridge and its safety.
On November 29, 1888, the Page News & Courier published:
Our town is improving and probably we may have a new bridge over the Hawksbill when the present one tumbles down.
Five years later, in 1893, concerns grew over how much weight the bridge could carry.
On November 16, 1893, the Page News & Courier published:
Notwithstanding the general fear entertained since the fresh of the bridge across the Hawksbill in this place, 34 cattle, weighing 37,000 pounds or 18 ½ tons, oblivious of the opinion of other people, made a safe passage across it last Saturday. Since that time we notice people putting their feet down square on it.
In 1901, the bridge had progressed to begin construction on a metal bridge. According to an article published in the May 2, 1901 edition of the Page News & Courier, the bridge was to be rebuilt in iron, under construction of the American Bridge Co. One year later, as construction continued, challenging weather threatened delays in the completion of the iron bridge. On November 27, 1902, a representative from the American Bridge Co. provided an assurance that the bridge would be completed in two weeks’ time. It was suggested in the Nov. 29, 1902 edition of the Page News & Courier, that the finalization of the bridge could be noted as a Christmas gift. The actual completion of the iron bridge, however, was finalized on December 31, 1902.
In 1934, the bridge was re-constructed into the concrete design that has remained until today. The Page News & Courier reported on May 26, 1939 that improvements to the bridge were made to include the concrete material and the addition of lights.
Today, the West Main Street Bridge in Luray sees more than 6,600 vehicular trips per day (VDOT-2012) and more than one hundred pedestrian trips each day. The new, proposed new design of the bridge has been geared to match the current look and size with two span steel beans and a reinforced concrete deck poured in place. The bridge will include a single in-stream pier and new abutment seats behind the existing abutments. Two sidewalks and a similar railing with integrated electric conduits will also make up part of the new design.
The Greenway trail and walking bridge will also be replaced and upgraded.
Construction on the new bridge is set to begin in early 2016.
A detailed look at the planning, design and timeline can be found online.
In continued recognition of the bridge’s past, the website also features photographs of the bridge throughout history.
For additional media information, including press-ready photographs, graphics, logos and factual data, please continue to visit this website or email us.