One of Loudoun’s long-standing bridges, the Goose Creek Bridge, now faces certain destruction after the county Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 on July 19 to destroy it.
“This bridge needs to be demolished,” Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said.
There wasn’t much of an argument, with Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) the lone supervisor to vote in favor of a restoration project that would cost approximately $1.3 million more than demolishing it. Destroying the bridge carries a $195,000 price tag.
The board didn’t believe the bridge had enough historical significance to preserve it. The span was built in 1932 to carry traffic over the Goose Creek and onto Route 7. Vehicular traffic ended on the bridge in the 1980s when a new bridge was built. The county acquired the bridge and the 3 acres surrounding it from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in 1992. Since that time, the bridge has become a scenic overlook for visitors and hikers at the Keep Loudoun Beautiful Park. The bridge is not listed as a state or nationally-recognized historic landmark.
“I think this is more about sentimental value than any kind of historical significance,” Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) said. “It was a bridge that was used to get back and forth. We need to move forward, we have a significant amount of other needs.”
After an inspection of the 276-foot bridge in January and February of 2005, the state allocated funds to repair the bridge: $789,000 in fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2006 as part of the Proposed Capital Improvement Project. The Board of Supervisors balked and took no action at the time.
VDOT notified the Board in 2010 that the time frame for the expenditure of state funds toward the bridge had expired and the $789,000 was moved to other state projects.
“I don’t know if we have any other options at this point,” Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), also on the board for the Loudoun Preservation Society, said. “I have to say, it’s a pretty ugly bridge.”
The Board of Supervisors reiterated throughout the short discussion of the options for the bridge that the Goose Creek Bridge just didn’t mean enough to Loudoun County.
“If the bridge had significant historical value, I could see maybe restoring it,” Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) said.
Dewberry, Inc., the company that inspected the bridge for the last several years, presented the Board with four options. The first was to repair and refurbish it, which they estimated would cost upwards of $1.5 million. The second option involved replacing the bridge with a pre-stressed concrete bridge, with an estimated $1.16 million price tag. A third option, replacing the bridge with a continental truss bridge, was similar in price. But just demolishing the bridge with no replacement was by far the cheapest option—only an estimated $194,656 would be required.
There was discussion about what would happen to hikers trying to navigate the trail in the area and the environmental impact on wood turtles.
It was confirmed that hikers have an alternative route to take, but a solution wasn’t brought forward regarding the endangered wood turtles.
“We all of the sudden don’t care about wood turtles,” Delgaudio said.
Regardless, due to the 8-1 vote, the bridge will be torn down.
“We had $700,000 available [a few years ago] but, because we put it off, it didn’t happen,” Waters said. “It was time to make the hard decision — and it was a hard decision — but we needed to get it done.”
It is not known at this time exactly when the bridge will be demolished.
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