|BLUEFIELD, WV — Gov. Jim Justice announced today the opening of the Grant Street Bridge, reconnecting the city’s North End and East Side with downtown and Princeton Avenue for the first time since the structure’s closure in 2019.
The new bridge is 330 feet long and features a modern design to improve safety and traffic flow. Federal, state, and local grants funded the $10.5 million project.
“This is another example of us pulling the rope together to get a meaningful project done,” Gov. Justice said. “There were a few hurdles along the way, but we didn’t let them stop us from getting this project across the finish line, and I’m proud to see us cutting the ribbon today. Bridges are more than just crossings from one side to the other. They act as connections between people, communities, and opportunities. This new bridge symbolizes our collective commitment to develop connections and economic prosperity for the City of Bluefield.”
|Residents impacted by the closing had been forced to use a very narrow road, which was hazardous and resulted in increased response time for emergency vehicles.
|Grant Street Bridge Timeline
June 2019: The Grant Street Bridge was closed after a Division of Highways inspection classified it as “critical” in safety, leaving motorists with a lengthy detour to get in and out of those parts of town.
October 2019: A task force of residents and city officials created to tackle the problem urged Gov. Justice to consider all options, including building a new bridge. The Governor said at the time: “I’m a firm believer, if our people are hurting and there’s a way to try and help, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’ve always done…I’ll promise you this, and this is the honest truth, once it hits dead on my radar, I’m going to do something about it.”
October 2020: Gov. Jim Justice announced he had secured funding to replace the decaying structure. Highways officials helped hammer out an agreement between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the City of Bluefield. Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern agreed to turn over ownership of the bridge to the City of Bluefield and give $500,000 as a local match funding for construction. The DOH agreed to manage the project, with $8 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration and $2 million from state sources.
April 2021: Brayman Construction Corporation was awarded a contract for $8.097 million to build a brand-new structure.
August 2021: Demolition of the old bridge started.
May 2022: Construction on the new bridge was halted after contractors discovered soft rock on the building site which required adjusting their construction plans.
August 2022: Contractors resumed work on the bridge.
December 2023: Gov. Justice cut the ribbon, opening the structure for vehicle use.