by Kate Shunney
A bridge replacement project on Winchester Grade Road (Rt. 13) has affected drivers on the well-traveled road since last year, but a separate bridge project is expected to close a section of the roadway for several months this spring.
Bridge engineer Paul Steedman of the West Virginia Division of Highways confirmed that state crews are expected to begin work at the start of April to take down an old one-lane bridge in the 4000 block of Winchester Grade Road. The bridge, listed as the Pallet Factory Bridge, has been on the state’s list to replace for several years.
Steedman confirmed rumors that the state wouldn’t install a temporary bridge during the project. Instead, he said crews will work double time to build the new bridge within three months in the same location.
The bridge closure during the project will require a detour for drivers.
Motorists will have to take Mesner Road north of the bridge project or Luther Michael Road south of the project area to go around the closure. There are multiple alternative side roads in the area, but all will send drivers miles out of their way.
Members of the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Company are concerned that those smaller roads can’t handle heavy equipment – school buses, fire trucks and large trucks – for several months. Fire officials have asked residents in the area to talk to elected officials and the DOH about the concerns.
Steedman said the bridge replacement work is being funded out of 2019-2020 fiscal year money, which means the project must be completed by the end of June.
The state has recently replaced the Sleepy Creek Arch bridge along River Road and contractors are working to finish the new bridge at Stotler’s Crossroads near Spielman Road this spring.