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2010 News Releases

Pedestrian bridge in Lancer Park project now in place

January 5, 2010

Lancer Park Pedestrian Bridge Lancer Park pedestrian bridge over West Third Street

People driving on West Third Street in Farmville now can see tangible evidence of the project that will better connect the Longwood University campus and one of the university's off-campus apartment communities.

A pedestrian bridge over Third Street, part of the Bridges at Lancer Park project, was installed recently. The 78-foot-long bridge extends from Grove Street, on the Longwood side of Third Street, to the other side of the four-lane roadway (U.S. Route 460) that bisects Farmville. Eventually the latter end of the bridge will link to a walkway connected at its other end to a vehicular bridge. That bridge will pass over a former railroad bed, now part of High Bridge Trail State Park, to what will be the new entrance to Lancer Park.

The project, expected to be finished by late May 2010, will provide a safer, shorter and more visually appealing commute for the 258 students who live at Lancer Park, six-tenths of a mile from campus on the other side of Third Street. The current entrance is on Grace Street, atop a steep hill, reached via Appomattox Street between the Farmville Train Station and Buffalo Shook, a business that makes wood products. Lancer Park, which includes townhouses and apartments, is owned by the Longwood Real Estate Foundation and managed by the university through the Office of Residential and Commuter Life.

The pedestrian bridge arrived Dec. 9 in two sections on separate trucks from Arkansas, where the sections were pre-fabricated, said Ken Copeland, executive director of the Longwood Real Estate Foundation. One section arrived about 9 p.m., the other shortly before midnight. Each section weighed at least 16,000 pounds. They were the same width, with one section about a foot longer than the other. Due to their width, a special permit had to be obtained from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

"They were first bolted together on the ground, which took about two hours," Copeland said. "They had to hand bolt both sides, on the top rail and on the bottom rail. After the sections were bolted together, a crane lifted the bridge about 20 feet up into the air, and, using guide ropes, workers put it into place. The bridge was in place by 3:55 a.m. The road had been blocked off; we chose to do this work in the evening to minimize the impact on traffic."

The pedestrian bridge, which has a built-in handrail on both sides, is about 10 feet wide and at least four feet high. "Due to the arch, the bridge is a little taller in the middle than on the sides. It's at least two feet taller than VDOT's minimum height requirement," said Copeland.

English Construction, the contractor for the project, will have to pour more concrete on the north (Lancer Park) side of the bridge, and a brick façade is being added to the concrete abutments on both sides of Third Street. On the Longwood side of Third Street, the bridge connects to Grove Street near Buffalo Street, next to the St. Theresa Parish Center.

"On the south side of Third Street, they have to make the tie-in to Grove Street a little cleaner," Copeland said. "We will partner with the Town to put in a sidewalk and a curb and gutter on the left side of Grove Street that will tie in to the Buffalo Street sidewalk."

The vehicular bridge will be installed in a similar process. "It will be a pre-fabricated structure made by the same company and will be similar in design to the pedestrian bridge," Copeland said.

The vehicular bridge will extend from Healy Street at the new entrance to Lancer Park to Third Street about 200 yards west of the pedestrian bridge. The entrance to the vehicular bridge will be just east of the driveway for B&G Auto. The vehicular bridge will consist of two lanes, a pedestrian sidewalk on the east side, and a deceleration lane for westbound traffic going from Third Street into Lancer Park. That bridge and the pedestrian bridge will be connected by a walkway on a rise on the north side of Third Street, which it will roughly parallel.