by Kate Shunney
The construction site for the new two-lane, single-span bridge along River Road across Sleepy Creek has been underwater at least three times since work began there in May.
Division of Highways Construction supervisor Daniel Watts said the repeated flooding has been a major cause of the delay in completing the bridge.
The DOH had set October 19 as the completion date for the 165-ft. bridge. That date has been adjusted to late next month, according to Watts.
“The rainy weather has significantly impacted this project resulting in approximately 30 working days lost. The new bridge is expected to be carrying traffic by late November,” Watts said last week.
“The remaining work is temperature sensitive so it is important that we experience mild weather to facilitate completion,” Watts said.
During flooding on and after June 3, construction equipment at the bridge building site was submerged for several days. The bridge over Sleepy Creek has been closed to traffic due to flooding at least three times since the project started.
The structure of the bridge is in place, roughly 100 feet downstream from the existing concrete arch bridge. Four steel beams will be topped by a concrete deck.
Traffic continues to use the century-old concrete arch bridge, which is a single lane width. The concrete ends are heavily damaged from multiple incidents of large trucks striking the bridge or getting stuck on it. Despite large signs directing trucks to avoid River Road, they continue to do so and often can’t navigate the angled approach to the bridge.
Construction of the new bridge also includes a change in the angle of the roadway leading to the crossing.
Rock Forge Bridge Company of Amma, W.Va. is constructing the bridge. The estimated cost of the project, including engineering and contingencies, is $2.18 million.