Fairfax officials update planning on Gabrielson Bridge replacement

Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Sully), standing in front, on Aug. 17, 2019, accepts thanks from the Coalition to Replace Gabrielson Bridge for her efforts to replace the span, which the county had demolished last September for safety reasons. (Photo by Scott Robinson)

Fairfax County officials are moving ahead with plans to replace Gabrielson Bridge over Difficult Run in Oakton, which the county had demolished last September because it did not meet safety standards.

A study recommended that the replacement span should be a prefabricated steel-truss bridge that would be 70 feet long, 10 feet wide and covered with a wooden deck.

The county government already has completed the topographic survey and final designs for the estimated $394,200 project, and will spend the remainder of the year obtaining the necessary permits for construction. The project is expected to be bid out in early 2020 and constructed by July next year.

According to a briefing given by county officials in April, the project’s cost includes $91,400 for design and testing of the bridge, $12,000 for permits, $243,800 for construction, $35,700 for administrative fees and $11,300 for mitigation efforts. County officials will pay for the new bridge using $308,000 in proffers from developers in Sully District and $100,000 from that district’s sidewalk fund.

The Coalition to Replace Gabrielson Bridge held a photo shoot at the bridge site Aug. 17 to thank Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Sully) for her efforts to secure funding for the project.

Representatives from numerous area organizations – including the Hunters Valley Association, Hunters Valley Riding Club, Fairfax 4 Horses, Sierra Great Falls Group, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Oakton Women’s Club, Fairfax Trails and Streams/Potomac Heritage Trail, Hunter Mill Country Day School, Lake Vale Estates Community Association, Hunter Mill Defense League, Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Trails, Sidewalks and Bikeways Committee – attended the event.

In an Aug. 17 letter, Oakton Women’s Club president Linda Byrne thanked Supervisor Smith for securing rapid responses from multiple governmental departments for the project, as well as its funding.

“Because of your leadership, our community will again enjoy a bridge that had for decades connected us with our neighbors, our stream-valley parks, our Cross County Trail and our history,” Byrne wrote. “All your constituents – including families, birdwatchers, hikers, bikers, equestrians, STEM and special-needs students – will safely cross the Difficult Run again.”

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