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With hundreds of Virginia bridges in need of repair, funding needed

With hundreds of Virginia bridges in need of repair, funding needed
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:19:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond's Mayo's Bridge carries over 20,000 cars across it each day but is also considered to be structurally deficient and in need of repairs.

"We definitely want to address that," Dr. John Kim, a bridge engineer with the City of Richmond, said.

Kim is one of Richmond's bridge engineers and the Mayo Bridge is one of many in Virginia that has been deemed structurally deficient.

"That doesn't mean it's not safe to cross. It's more like a check engine sign of your vehicle," Kim said.

In total, VDOT has rated 728 bridges across the state as structurally deficient, including 64 West at the airport, 95 South at East Bound 460 and 64 West at the I-95 Interchange.

As for the Mayo Bridge, which is now over a century old, Kim said one of the main issues facing the structure is water damage.

"Water and concrete rebar, they don't get along well," Kim said.

Kim said that they have a tentative $20 million rehab project scheduled for the bridge but don't have the funding to do it. According to officials, the problem of funding is happening at the state level as well.

"In the last round, we received $6 billion in requests for a little over a billion dollars in available funding," Nick Donohue, the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, said.

On Friday, Kim and other officials joined Virginia Senator Mark Warner to discuss the problem.

"We've seen the quality of our infrastructure across the Commonwealth just go down," Sen. Warner said.

Warner is part of a bipartisan group of senators working on an over trillion-dollar infrastructure package that includes around $579 billion for roads, bridges and other public works projects.

The infrastructure package failed a procedural vote Wednesday as Warner says lawmakers are still hashing out final details.

"We are this close. There's offers back and forth," Warner said.

Warner said that he hopes a deal will be reached by the end of Friday and the Senate will vote again Monday. Kim said that he hopes a resolution is met sooner as opposed to later.

"The deterioration process never sleeps. So, the longer we wait, the more costly it is," Kim said.

Kim said that once the funding is secured, work on the bridge could likely start within two years.