The improved Chatham Bridge between the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County will reopen to vehicle traffic on Sunday, after 16 months of repair and reconstruction.
The public is invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and pedestrian preview on the bridge on Saturday — the same day that a partial opening will occur for the City’s nearby Riverfront Park.
The ribbon-cutting will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be immediately followed by an opportunity for the public to walk, run, bicycle, and enjoy the full width of the bridge deck from approximately 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.
The bridge’s new shared-use path will open following the ribbon-cutting Saturday and will remain open after the ceremony. This nearly 10-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bicyclists includes a scenic overlook of the Rappahannock River, and connects sidewalks in downtown Fredericksburg with the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford.
Early Sunday, when traffic volumes are low, crews will remove the barricades and open the bridge to vehicle traffic. Motorists can check 511virginia.org for real-time updates that morning for the bridge’s status.
About the Project
Chatham Bridge has been closed to traffic since June 22, 2020, when a $23.4 million rehabilitation project started to improve the bridge’s condition.
The Chatham Bridge opened to traffic in 1941. It carries an average of 16,000 vehicles a day on State Route 3 Business over the Rappahannock River.
The project replaced the bridge deck and travel surface, and repaired the bridge approaches and substructure. Before the project, Chatham Bridge was posted with a 15-ton vehicle weight limit, which will be removed when it reopens.
The ribbon-cutting and pedestrian preview will be held rain or shine, although it will be cancelled for severe weather. Any updates to the event plan will be communicated through VDOT’s Chatham Bridge project page and locality alert systems.
Attendees planning to drive to the event are advised to use public parking lots or public street parking in Fredericksburg. For more information, visit City of Fredericksburg parking resources page.
Due to a previously scheduled special event in Pratt Park on Saturday, parking is not recommended on the Stafford approach to Chatham Bridge.
The Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail in Stafford that passes underneath the Chatham Bridge remains an active work zone under the bridge, and will not be open to pedestrians at this location until April 2022. The shared-use path on Chatham Bridge will remain accessible from Stafford at the street level with Route 3 Business and River Road.
While the Chatham Bridge is reopening to vehicle traffic Sunday, construction will continue as scheduled through April 2022 to repair the bridge’s substructure. The impact to traffic after the bridge reopens in October will be limited. Only periodic single-lane closures, scheduled at off-peak times, are anticipated.
Learn more about the project at https://www.virginiadotorg/chathambridge.