Guyandotte bridge opens after floodwall training exercise
HUNTINGTON - The 3rd Avenue Bridge into Guyandotte reopened Friday morning after being closed for two days for a floodwall training exercise.
The exercise involved the closure of the floodwall gates on either side of the 3rd Avenue Bridge by the Huntington Stormwater Utility.
As part of the exercise, employees not only install the floodwall gate but also take an inventory of the parts to make sure they are all working properly, and make repairs as necessary.
Work on the floodwalls began Wednesday night, following assistance from the West Virginia Division of Highways who aided in the road closure as well as the removal of several layers of asphalt covering the base of the floodwall gate.
Brian Bracey, executive director for the Huntington Water Quality Board, which is the umbrella agency for the Huntington Sanitary Board, Huntington Stormwater Utility and Huntington Floodwall Division, said crews completed the exercise of the Huntington floodwall early Thursday morning before moving to the Guyandotte side.
Although the floodwall gate on the Huntington side of the 3rd Avenue Bridge had never been erected since it was built in 1941, Bracey said it was in great condition. He added that the floodwall on the Guyandotte side was in need of repairs, which took about a day and a half to complete.
Bracey said both floodwall gates were modified to make them easier to erect in the event of a high water emergency.
Bracey said the training exercise is required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA every three years.
Having held his position with the Water Quality Board for just under a year, Bracey said he is unsure why the Stormwater Utility has not been able to meet this requirement in the past but is working to change that.
“Following the high water in February, I realized the importance of making sure (the floodwall) is in good working order and we can figure out ways to expatiate (closures) in case of an emergency,” he said.
Bracey said he plans to exercise 10 more floodwalls before the end of the year in order to get the Water Quality Board back into compliance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA regulations.
The next floodwall gate scheduled for closure is also located in Guyandotte on the East End of W.Va. 2 just before 40th Street. Bracey said this exercise will take place Aug. 15.
The floodwall gate near Camden Park on Waverly Road is scheduled for a closure Aug. 29.