After being closed for repairs since Jan. 3, the Washington Avenue Bridge is re-opening to traffic by the weekend.
Public Works Director Russell Jebbia said overall, the project went smoothly, although inclement weather – extreme cold and high creek levels - did create some delays with work.
“We understand the inconvenience the closure of the bridge caused, but the repairs were necessary to ensure the bridge remains reliable and safe for the next few years until it can be replaced. We appreciate everyone’s patience,” he said, noting the weight limit will remain at five tons.
Prior to the closure, an inspection by the West Virginia Division of Highways indicated significant deterioration of the bridge and the need for immediate attention. The span was in imminent risk of some shifts that would have required the bridge to be closed for an extended period of time until a new bridge could be constructed. City council took emergency action in December to hire Quality Steel Erecting Inc. of St. Clairsville to perform the necessary repairs.
The Washington Avenue Bridge is slated for replacement through a partnership between the WVDOH and the City. Its replacement date has yet to be determined. The WVDOH has agreed to fund 80 percent of the overall cost of the replacement, while the City will fund the remaining 20 percent. The total cost of the project is about $7.8 million and it will be administered by the WVDOH.