The Fauquier Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on April 10th, 2014 regarding the Six Year Plan for Secondary Roads. The Six Year Plan outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction, development, or study for the next six years and is updated each year. The letter below is a request submitted by Piedmont Environmental Council that the long-term rehabilitation of the Waterloo Bridge be included in the 2014-2015 through 2019-2020 Six Year Plan.
Dear Chairman Trumbo and Board of Supervisors,
The Waterloo Bridge is a valuable piece of the history of Culpeper and Fauquier Counties. The bridge, whose distinctive iron and steel through Pratt truss dates to the late 19th century, spans the Rappahannock River and links Waterloo and Old Bridge roads in Culpeper to Jeffersonton Road in Fauquier. The bridge’s history is deeply entwined with its setting – beginning as a link to a bustling canal town with stores, residences, and a mill before becoming a pivotal river crossing during the Civil War – and demonstrates the region’s connections to advances in transportation, economic and industrial development.
We ask that the long term rehabilitation of the Waterloo Bridge be added to the Six Year Plan for Secondary Roads in Fauquier. The Six Year Plan outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction, development, or study for the next six years and is updated each year as revenue estimates are updated, priorities are revised, project schedules and costs change, and study results are known. This gives the Transportation Committee and the Board of Supervisors the opportunity to reevaluate its inclusion next year if long term rehabilitation is found to be impossible or the cost is found to be excessive.
The long term rehabilitation of Waterloo Bridge is a priority of the local community and should be included in future transportation plans. The importance of its rehabilitation is apparent by the 601 signatures on our Save the Waterloo Bridge petition and the 2,582 people following the “Save the Waterloo Bridge” Facebook page.
We request that Waterloo Bridge be rehabilitated so that it retains its historical integrity and can safely remain open to serve vehicular traffic. The unique bridge makes a significant contribution to the historical and cultural landscape of Culpeper and Fauquier County, as can be seen by the concern residents in both counties have shown over the bridge’s closure.
We do not believe that any other alternatives will preserve the accessibility and historical integrity of the resource for these reasons:
- Moving the bridge to another site would take it out of its historical context; both the bridge and the area are historically significant and they are inseparable from each other.
- Replacing it with a new bridge destroys the historical nature of the resource and could potentially cost more than rehabilitating the bridge.
- The option of rehabilitation for pedestrian and bicycle traffic is impractical given the bridge’s remote location, lack of parking, and its disconnection from established bicycle routes. Plus there are still significant costs associated with these improvements and the long-term maintenance which Culpeper and Fauquier would have to manage.
We ask that the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors add the long term rehabilitation of the Waterloo Bridge to the 2014-2015 through 2019-2020 Six Year Plan for Secondary Roads. Thank you for considering our request.
Fauquier County Land Use Officer
Piedmont Environmental Council