Main span of new Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge lifted into place

CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) celebrated the continued success of Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads to Prosperity highway and bridge construction and maintenance program on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, as contractors lifted the main span of the new Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge into position in Nitro.
The main span, five beams wide, 11 feet tall, and 314 feet long, was pre-assembled and lifted into place Wednesday from a barge in the middle of the Kanawha River. The section of bridge weighs about two million pounds.
“Thanks to the Governor, we are almost finished with this important project,” said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of Operations.
The main span of the old Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge was gently lowered onto a barge in December 2022 as contractors Brayman and Trumbull began disassembling the old structure. The bridge served the public for 60 years, opening to traffic in 1962.
Contractors have spent the past few months working on approach spans and pouring new concrete support piers for the main span on top of the old bridge piers. Lifting the main span into place completes construction of the bridge superstructure, although Brayman and Trumbull will still need to pour the bridge deck and pave the new roadway.
Contractors hope to pour the bridge deck before winter and complete paving when asphalt plants open in the spring of 2024.
Construction of the new bridge between the Nitro and St. Albans exits of Interstate 64 is part of an approximately $225 million project to upgrade I-64 to six lanes from Nitro to the US 35 exit. The project also called for construction of five new bridges in addition to the new Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge.
The project is paid for through Gov. Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity program.
“This is one of the largest Roads to Prosperity projects in the state,” Pack said.
In October 2022, Gov. Justice announced the opening of the Nitro WW I Memorial Bridge just north of the old Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge to carry westbound traffic. The old bridge is being rebuilt using a portion of the existing piers to carry traffic east. Each bridge will be four lanes wide, to allow drivers traveling between the Nitro and St. Albans exits to drive without having to merge into through traffic.
Completion of the two bridges and widening I-64 to six lanes will open a major bottleneck on one of the most heavily travelled sections of interstate in West Virginia. The old Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge carried approximately 60,000 vehicles a day.