A miscalculation by the Virginia Department of Transportation has pushed back the completion time for the $44 million overpass project at Route 28 and Wellington Road, city officials and VDOT engineers told Manassas City Council this month.
The project may not be completed until early 2013, though traffic may be able to use the bridge sooner.
The bridge walls that are currently being built have 5-foot foundations and a unique undercut that has affected some other areas of the project, leading to more right-of-way acquisitions being required, said Helen Cuervo, the lead VDOT engineer on the project.
They needed another 5 or 6 feet of pavement, which pushed the project on to another property, leading to a temporary easement, she said.
The property owner has been very good to work with, she added.
"When you push the project out very quickly—any project—you are going to have unknowns,” she added.
The project was slated for completion in November but has been pushed into sometime early next year, Mike Moon director of Manassas Public Works and Utilities told council.
“ … So we did lose some time, but we are working very closely with the contractor. He’s added crews, he’s working Saturdays … and we believe by the end of October early November, we will have traffic up on the bridge,” Cuervo said.
Vehicles are currently able to travel north up on the bridge on Route 28 from the Godwin Drive area and make right turns on to Wellington Road.
It’s been a complicated project, working with the railroad, the utility companies and having an urban area nearby, Cuervo said. It’s also a unique project because it’s in a curb, which has added some difficulty, she said.
Manassas Councilman Marc Aveni told Cuervo and Moon he has some concerns about the project site.
“Things are, in a word, crazy over there. I’m not really sure where I’m going, where I’m turning; surely you’ve gotten some complaints,” Aveni said.
If you are coming south and wanting to turn onto Wellington Road, it can be very confusing, he explained.
“That whole area—Southern States, the convenience store—I don’t want to say it’s an accident waiting to happen … (but) it’s dangerous,” Aveni said.
Cuervo said anyone who has any suggestions about traffic patterns at the site is welcome to contact them.
Manassas Councilman Mark Wolfe said temporary signage needs to be larger and clearer on at the site on Route 28 northbound.
Wolfe said he has concerns about the curb cut at Southern States; he takes the blame for not seeing the problem after looking at the area when it was depicted in drawings.
“That’s a disaster,” Wolfe said. “I can’t believe the city thinks that’s acceptable from a safety perspective that you have traffic coming down a significant down slope with traffic coming out immediately at the bottom on the right-hand side. I just don’t understand how that works and I would not want to be having the liability for that.”
She agrees that it is a tight, difficult area, but engineers did go back to the designers and have them look at the area again.
VDOT engineers, city officials and police did consider safety in the project, Cuervo said.
Left turns from Cockrell Road onto Route 28 are no longer allowed because they didn’t feel it was a safe movement after speaking with police, she added.