Residents protest Grant Street Bridge closure, ask for transparency

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Some senior citizens are fed up with the Grant Street Bridge closure and they hope protesting will get the answers and action they want.

The Grant Street Bridge closed to traffic over a year ago and it’s been a pain for many residents ever since.

“We’ve got veterans, we’ve got the elderly and there’s people that have a problem getting back-and-forth here,” said protestor Willie B. Perry Jr. “Even when our kid comes to visit, they don’t know how to get in from any other direction.”

Lately, it seemed like progress was being made. City officials met with firms, settled on a contract and even threatened to sue the railroad company that owns the bridge if something isn’t done.

“That’s the least they could do is fix our bridge,” said Rebecca Perry. “They own part of the bridge. Some say it’s their part that needs fixed, some say it’s the city’s part. Whoever’s it is, they should fix it.”

For the past month, several residents from the north and east ends of the city say they’ve felt forgotten.

“It was in the paper that the railroad was supposed to meet with the city,” said Willie. “We read the paper this morning and there’s nothing in there, so we don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know if they’re talking or what. All we want them to do is…tell us what they’re going to do.”

All the protesters out on Friday were over 60 years old. They say it’s mainly senior citizens like themselves who are suffering.

“I have an elderly [neighbor] who’s been sick,” said Rebecca. “She had to have a rescue squad come pick her up. It’s also affecting the children with the school kids that used to come across this bridge.”

Friday’s was just one of many protests they’ve held. They plan to be out for many more until something changes.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.