The Board of Supervisors has approved plans to rehabilitate the John G. Lewis Memorial Bridge on unpaved Featherbed Lane over the Catoctin Creek.
According to a county report, the one-lane bridge dates to 1889, when it was built on the Leesburg and Alexandria Turnpike—today Rt. 7—over Goose Creek. In 1932, it was taken apart and moved to its current location over Catoctin Creek.
In 1974, the Catoctin Creek Bridge, as it was then known, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of 19th century engineering. In 2013, the bridge was renamed for John G. Lewis, who led that effort, along with work to preserve other historic structures and the creation of the Catoctin Creek Scenic River Advisory Committee.
In 2014, the weight limit over the bridge was reduced from 15 tons to three after an inspection found cracking in the bridge’s steel. Since 2014, the Virginia Department of Transportation studied options for replacing or rehabilitating the bridge.
The plan for the bridge calls for mounting the existing steel truss bridge on top of a new bridge of modern design, with an attempt to preserve the look of the old bridge with faux stone abutments and a deck of glue-laminated timber.
Construction on the $5.6 million project is expected to begin in spring 2021, completely funded with state and federal money. During that work, the bridge will be closed completely, with detours onto paved roads in the area. The detour is expected to last 18 months.
Supervisors approved those plans unanimously at their meeting March 21.