New Ohio River bridge discussed by BHJ

New Ohio River bridge discussed by BHJ

STEUBENVILLE — It appears construction of the new Ohio River bridge between Wellsburg and Brilliant will be delayed a few months, but officials have been discussing how it will affect the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association.

Mike Witherow, the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s liaison to the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, said it appears work on the span may not begin until later this summer while the contractor awaits approval of environmental permits and the acquisition of easements.

Dave Snelting, BHJ transportation study director, said he and Ruby Greathouse of the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association met with West Virginia Department of Transportation officials to discuss the project’s impact on the trail.

The trail passes through an area about a mile south of Wellsburg where the span will be built.

Snelting said plans call for the trail to be closed in September or October while crews work around the site and remain closed until Memorial Day 2019. Some time after that, it’s set to be closed again until September 2019, he said.

Snelting said there are plans to post signs for trail users during that time.

Greathouse said benches and a historic marker in that section of the trail will be removed and stored until the project is completed.

Snelting said there had been talk of excavating the hillside near the West Virginia side of the bridge to accommodate the addition of left and right turn lanes to the span from state Route 2. He said at this time it appears the crews will instead relocate the highway and build the turn lanes closer to the river.

The trail is set to be closed while crews build a wall along the west side of the highway.

Snelting noted the bridge will include a lane for bicyclists divided from the adjacent lane for vehicles by a concrete barrier. Plans call for a paved ramp to extend from the lane to the trail below.

The $131 million project is slated for completion in 2021.

The Flatiron Corp. of Broomfield, Colo., was chosen as general contractor after submitting the lowest of three bids and a proposal that reduced the anticipated completion date by a year.

To do that, the company plans to build the span in segments elsewhere, then ship them by barge to the project’s site.

The bridge will be a tied arch span, consisting of an overhead arch and deck that resembles a bow being drawn to fire an arrow. The Fort Henry Bridge in Wheeling and Pittsburgh’s Fort Pitt Bridge are tied arch spans.

In other business, Follansbee City Manager John DeStefano asked about the planned replacement of a deteriorating bridge deck and box culvert beneath the intersection of state Route 2 and Allegheny Street.

City and state officials discovered the deterioration after two sinkholes occurred on each side of the intersection in 2016.

Witherow said the project, previously eyed for this summer, has been moved to November.

That section of Route 2 in the city was slated to be paved following that project. But Witherow said, following the meeting, the project’s delay doesn’t necessarily mean the paving will be postponed.

Many residents have complained about the road’s condition.

WVDOT officials have scheduled several slip repair projects in Brooke and Hancock counties to begin after July 1.

But it could be later in the year before they are completed.

Witherow said $3 million has been allocated to the district for slip repairs, which number in the hundreds. He said the severity of the slips, traffic volumes for the roads and other conditions are being considered to prioritize each project.

In other business, Mark Henne, former Wellsburg city manager, asked about a proposal to widen the intersection of state Routes 2 and 27 in the city to increase the turning radius for large trucks.

Henne was told the project has been named a candidate for funding through the Roads to Prosperity bond issue but hasn’t been funded yet.

Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp.of the Northern Panhandle, asked about the proposed relocation of Route 2 in New Cumberland to address a winding hilly section navigated by many large trucks, among others.

He was told plans call for one of several possible scenarios to be chosen, pending an environmental impact study, and a public hearing to be held some time this summer.

Tentatively slated for 2020, the project has been approved for funding through the bond issue.

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