Virginia to test Natural Bridge arch for long-term stability

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ROCKBRIDGE, Va. (AP) — Virginia officials plan to use ground-penetrating radar to test the long-term stability of Natural Bridge, the landmark limestone arch that supports part of U.S. Route 11.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, Sandy Myers, tells The Roanoke Times the tests could start this week. Workers will look for underground voids and weaknesses in the roadbed.

There's no evidence so far that the formation is unsafe for the 2,000-some cars and trucks that pass over it on an average day. But Myers says that after questions were raised, transportation officials decided to look for ways to ensure "everything is stable."

The newspaper reports the last known evaluation of the bridge's structural integrity was done in 2000, after a tourist was struck and killed by a falling rock.

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