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Upgrade coming for McLean Central Park bridge this August

While the long-term vision for McLean Central Park continues to take shape, community members can expect to see a more immediate change later this month.

Work will begin in mid-August to replace an aging, wooden bridge in the park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) with a fiberglass bridge that will last longer and require less maintenance, the Fairfax County Park Authority announced last week.

The agency has enlisted contractor AP Construction LLC for the project, which carries a price tag of approximately $116,200.

Since fiberglass doesn’t corrode like wood, manufacturers typically anticipate a 50-year lifespan for fiberglass bridges compared to 20 years for wood structures, according to FCPA Trails Program Manager Tom McFarland.

“Further, fiberglass trail bridges are lighter and easier to assemble than traditional bridges built from wood or steel,” McFarland told FFXnow by email. “The parts can be hand carried to the site and assembled using common hand tools. These bridges are also stronger than the typical wood structure.”

McFarland says the park authority typically uses bridges supplied by the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer Creative Pultrusions that can hold the weight of a 10,000-pound piece of equipment if needed.

“All of these factors make the fiberglass bridge a much more desirable and economical choice,” he said.

The McLean Central Park bridge replacement is projected to finish in late September, depending on the weather, according to the park authority.

During the project, portions of the park’s trail will be closed “as a safety precaution.” The park authority warns residents to expect “occasional traffic” at Martha Jane Street, which will be used as an access point for construction materials and equipment.

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