Northern Neck bridge reopens after work made trucks detour 85 miles

UPDATE: The temporary weight limit at the Norris Bridge has been removed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT says all vehicles carrying up to the legal load limit of 40 tons, and up to 45 tons with blanket permits, can cross the bridge over the Rappahannock River.

WHITE STONE, Va. (WAVY) – Weight limits on a critical bridge between the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula are forcing large trucks to go 85 miles out of their way.

VDOT put the weight restrictions into place after a recent annual inspection. Two pins in the bridges beams were found to have abnormalities. They’re not saying what those abnormalities are.

The pins are about four to six inches in diameter and roughly two feet long.

Even though it was just two pins out of two hundred, they were enough to force these weight restrictions on the Robert O. Norris Bridge.

More than eight thousand vehicles cross the Norris every weekday. State troopers are posted both ends of the bridge to make sure none of them are heavier than 15 tons.

Delivery driver Justin Hescox could cross the bridge Friday, but Wednesday he was too heavy. The detour for trucks over 15 tons goes through Tappahannock, 40 miles upriver.

“I had to do that whole way detour 85 miles, added another hour and a half to my trip, and I’m cutting it close on my times.”

Fish and Crabmeat are taking longer to get to Hampton Roads, but residents who live in the Northern Neck on the other side of the bridge are concerned about vital goods getting to them, too.

“Grocery trucks are affected and they have to go way around. We’re waiting to see what effect that has on what’s available,” said longtime Northern Neck resident Lynn Friel.

VDOT says the two pins are being analyzed at a state lab in Charlottesville, and the agency expects to announce the findings by the middle of next week. A VDOT spokeswoman told us the weight restrictions and the detour should be lifted by Thanksgiving.