Home ‘Connects communities:’ Chatham Bridge project finalist in national transportation competition

‘Connects communities:’ Chatham Bridge project finalist in national transportation competition

Rebecca Barnabi

vdotThe Virginia Department of Transportation’s Chatham Bridge Rehabilitation and Shared Use Path Project is a Top 12 finalist in the America’s Transportation Awards competition.

Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the competition allowed the Chatham Bridge project to advance from 80 nominees in 37 states. The project is also under consideration for a grand prize and the People’s Choice Award, for which voting is open through Friday, Oct. 21.

The project received top honors in the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials regional competition in Quality of Life/Community Development category.

“This recognition highlights the Youngkin administration’s commitment to preserving and improving vital infrastructure for the benefit of all, Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III said in a press release. “From regional megaprojects to local improvements, we are committed to building a transportation system that fuels economic growth and improve the quality of life for the entire Commonwealth.”

The $23.4 million project, according to the press release, transformed an 80-year-old bridge by connecting it with a Stafford County trail along River Road that passes under Chatham Bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists now have uninterrupted and safe access from Pratt Park in Stafford, across the Rappahannock River and into downtown Fredericksburg. Weight limits on the bridge are no more thanks to the project.

The Chatham Bridge, which carries 16,000 vehicles per day, is named after Chatham Manor, on the banks of the Rappahannock River not far from George Washington’s boyhood home Ferry Farm. Chatham Manor, built in 1771 by statesmen William Fitzhugh, briefly served as Union headquarters during the American Civil War, and later as a Union hospital. The estate was willed to the National Park Service in 1975 and is the headquarters of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

“We are honored to receive this national recognition from our peers for improving quality of life and enhancing our communities across the Commonwealth,” VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich said in a press release. “The Chatham Bridge Rehabilitation Project not only connects communities through multi-modal transportation options, but provides opportunities for people of all ages to walk and bike safely in the beautiful natural areas along the Rappahannock River.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.