Work begins on 5th Street Bridge replacement project
HUNTINGTON — Drivers are being diverted to one lane across the 5th Street Bridge in Huntington’s Southside as West Virginia Department of Transportation crews begin eventual replacement of the 97-year-old structure.
It’s part of a $3.7 million project announced by the WVDOT in May 2017 to replace the 5th Street Bridge and 8th Street Bridge, which have fallen into poor conditions since construction in the early 1920s.
On Wednesday, crews began core drilling on the 5th Street Bridge, which is described by the WVDOT as a process that removes pieces of the bridge’s roadway for eventual replacement of the entire roadway. The replacement bridge will be almost double in width and feature a middle turn lane, bigger sidewalks and added shoulders along the road.
Built in 1921, the 5th Street Bridge spans Fourpole Creek from the Southside to 5th Street and Interstate 64. Approximately 11,200 vehicles use the bridge every day, according to WVDOT. The replacement is expected to cost approximately $2,063,400. Consultant for the project is Michael Baker Jr. Inc., a Charleston-based civil engineering firm.
The 8th Street Bridge will also be demolished and replaced with a wider road, expanded sidewalks and added shoulders along the roadway. The work, expected to begin sometime this fall, will completely close the bridge to traffic. Drivers may make a detour by taking 12th Street on the east side of Ritter Park. Built in 1920, the 8th Street Bridge runs west of Ritter Park, spanning Fourpole Creek from 8th Street to McCoy Road. The estimated cost of the 8th Street Bridge replacement is approximately $1,613,200.
WVDOT said railings on both bridges have deteriorated beyond normal repair and have lost columns, known as balusters.
Roadways on both bridges have no shoulders and sidewalks are cracked and narrow. Sidewalks on the bridges are about 4 feet wide, while the Americans with Disabilities Act requires sidewalks to be at least 5 feet wide. Both bridges received ratings of “poor” during recent inspections, according to WVDOT.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801. Reporter Bishop Nash contributed to this report.