Driving in the Right Direction

Waterloo Bridge. Photo by Julie Bolthouse.

Finally, after a four-year battle to save the Route 613 Waterloo Bridge over the Rappahannock River, success is in sight. The bridge, which connects Fauquier and Culpeper counties, is a treasured historic resource for local residents and visitors to the region. Following its closure, there was a huge citizen response in support of rehabilitating the structure. Thousands of people have taken action. They have signed a petition, written emails, made phone calls, attended meetings, posted on Facebook and put up yard signs, all in support of saving Waterloo Bridge.

Thanks to the Hitt family’s generous pledge of $1 million toward the project in early 2017, VDOT indicated it would be possible to move forward without a contribution of funds from either county. However, a resolution of support was still needed, and on November 9, Fauquier held a public hearing to decide whether to adopt a resolution supporting an application for a cost-sharing project with VDOT.

The public hearing had over 100 residents present, the majority of whom wore bright yellow “Save Waterloo Bridge” stickers that we provided to supporters. Representatives from PEC and Scenic Virginia were also present, and we shared our support for the rehabilitation. Many residents spoke, including Russell Hitt, who gave a touching account of his memories going over the bridge with his family as a child.

In the end, the board of supervisors passed a resolution of support. However, it stipulates that an unidentified third-party would pay for any possible overruns associated with the project — this is language VDOT opposed because it is does not give the agency certainty or demonstrate support from the locality. The proposed cost-sharing agreement will now move forward to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and they will decide to approve it or not by next June.

We hope that the Commonwealth Transportation Board will ultimately decide to approve Waterloo Bridge for funding.

This post was written by Julie Bolthouse and featured in our Winter 2017 member newsletter, The Piedmont View.