BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – Officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) are dotting their “I’s” and crossing their “T’s” to get a bridge replacement project in Bluefield ready for bid.
“The hard part’s done,” said Joshua Anderson, Bridge Engineer for WVDOH District 10, “The agreement’s done, and the plans are basically done.”
In October 2020, Gov. Jim Justice announced $10.5 million in federal, state, and local funding to replace the decaying structure. Highways officials helped hammer out an agreement between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the city of Bluefield, who jointly owned the old bridge.
Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern agreed to turn over ownership of the bridge to the city of Bluefield, and agreed to give city officials $500,000 as local match funding for construction. Highways officials agreed to manage the project, with $8 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration and $2 million in funding from state sources.
Anderson said plans are complete for the Grant Street Bridge replacement project in Bluefield, with the project expected to go to bid in February. Construction of the new span is expected to start this spring and be complete by the end of 2021.
The bridge, built in 1941 to provide access from the North End and East Side of Bluefield to Princeton Avenue and the downtown area, was closed in June 2019 after a state inspection determined the bridge had deteriorated past the point of repair. While necessary to protect their safety, the closure left about 2,000 Bluefield residents with lengthy detours to get to and from their homes.
“The city’s worked with us really well,” Anderson said. “It’s really impressive the amount of work that’s been done in 60 days.”
“Projects such as this one show the value in being able to work together,” said Byrd White, Secretary of Transportation. “We worked with the city and the railroad to make the Governor’s vision a reality. It takes time, diligence, and patience on the part of all concerned, but when it all comes together it’s worth it.”