Heavy rains that brought flooding to the Meherrin River in southern Virginia caused scour below a pier on the Robinson Ferry Road bridge in Brunswick County. Scour, which is caused by swiftly moving water, is the removal of sediment around bridge abutments or piers that can compromise the integrity of the structure. Due to the unsafe conditions caused by the severe settlement of the middle pier, the Virginia Department of Transportation decided to close the bridge. VDOT then enlisted the help of Moffatt & Nichol to design the necessary repairs.
Our Richmond office led the effort to devise an innovative plan that included straddle bents supported by piles which reduced the load on the settling pier. Since the Meherrin River is also notorious for heavy debris during floods, we also designed debris deflectors to protect the structure on this vital corridor. VDOT was able to reopen the bridge to all traffic at the beginning of December ahead of the busy holiday season!