|CHARLESTON, WV – Contractors have resumed work on the Grant Street Bridge in Bluefield.|
Construction on the new bridge was halted in May after contractors discovered soft rock on the building site which required adjusting their construction plans. Any changes to the plans must be approved by officials with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, over which the bridge passes.
Norfolk Southern’s consultants have signed off on the changes, allowing work to resume.
The bridge, built in 1941 to provide access from downtown Bluefield and Princeton Avenue to the town’s North End and East Side, has been closed since June 2019, leaving motorists with a lengthy detour to get in and out of those parts of town.
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. The West Virginia Division of Highways agreed to manage the project, with $8 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration and $2 million in funding from state sources.
In the spring of 2021, Brayman Construction Corporation was awarded a contract for $8,097,117.21 to tear down the old bridge and replace it with a brand-new structure.
Replacement of the bridge will provide easy access to all parts of town and to US 19.
Contractors began disassembling the old bridge in August 2021, one piece at a time.
The new bridge, built on the same footprint as the existing span, will be 330 feet long. Construction is expected to be complete by late 2022.