VDOT posts 3-ton weight limit on Route 3 Norris Bridge

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has lowered the posted weight limit for the Robert O. Norris Jr. Bridge to three tons for all vehicles until further notice. This limits traffic to nothing heavier than passenger vehicles. Special exemptions have been made to allow ambulances to continue to use the bridge.

VDOT bridge engineers conducted follow-up testing of a bridge pin concern found Sept. 13 during a re-inspection ordered after the Minnesota Bridge collapse in August; that pin has been determined to be safe.

VDOT engineers received the detailed re-inspection report for the bridge on Oct. 1. While on-site to follow-up on the initial pin concern, the inspectors tested additional pins that were noted in the re-inspection report. Ultrasonic testing indicated an abnormality inside one 6-inch by 12-and-three-quarters-inch bridge pin. VDOT engineers felt the condition of this second pin warranted reducing the weight limit immediately until the pin could be replaced.

VDOT has an emergency contract in place for the work. An additional structural system will be put into place to ensure the bridge is supported while the pin is removed and replaced.

VDOT is posting signs to alert motorists to the new weight restrictions. The Norris Bridge carries Route 3 across the Rappahannock River between Grey’s Point in Middlesex County and White Stone in Lancaster County. Overweight vehicles should use Route 17 north to Route 360 near Tappahannock, follow Route 360 east to Warsaw, then take Route 3 south to bypass the bridge.