Originally Published 6/13/13
Under a brilliant late spring sun, about a dozen folks gathered this morning to mark a welcome moment in area transportation: The Beulah Road bridge reconstruction is done.This bridge has been a trouble spot ever since it was originally opened in 1963. The spans were too low, and were hit on numerous occasions by trucks carrying high loads.
None were serious until November 18, 2010. On that date, a flatbed truck hauling a backhoe caused enough damage to require a rebuild of the west span. It was a long and delicate process, minimizing traffic impacts as much as possible. For many months the bridge passed only one lane of traffic, controlled by lights at each end.
Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins turned the repair project into an opportunity to provide pedestrian and bicycle safety. She lobbied for, and found some extra Virginia state funds to widen as well as elevate the span. The result is continuation of a key Fairfax County trail, and wider access to Meadowlark Gardens from surrounding communities north of the bridge.
Virginia State DOT Bridge Engineer, Nicholas J. Roper addresses the group, giving the background and highlighting interesting facts about the project.
The Accidental Dignitary
I was there only as a reporter for the Westbriar Crier, looking for happenings around the area to write about.
We were on the north end of the bridge, and I assumed that for the ribbon cutting, they would face the sun for best photography. So that is where I positioned myself. Then, someone said, “Let’s get the bridge as background.”
Suddenly the ribbon was reversed, and I was now standing on the wrong side. Supervisor Hudgins gestured to me to stand next to her, and someone put a scissors in my hand. It was very informal. I asked if we are actually supposed to cut, or just pose. Cathy said “cut”. Of course I let her snip before me.
Some days are just better than others.
Beulah Bridge Dedication. Front Row, l. to r.: Nicholas Roper, VDOT; Cathy Hudgins, Hunter Mill Supervisor; John Shreffler, Westbriar Civic Association; and Jenifer Joy Madden, FCDOT Advisory Commission. Photo, Paul Davis