CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia Division of Highways bridge crews will begin cleaning work to prepare the historic Carrollton Covered Bridge for restoration beginning Monday, July 11, 2022.
The Barbour County bridge, the third oldest of 17 surviving covered bridges in West Virginia, was badly damaged by a fire in August 2017. The blaze destroyed much of the outer covering of the bridge but left the basic structure mostly intact.
“We’re finally at the point where we can begin restoration of this historic structure,” said Brian Cooper, P.E., District 7 Engineer. “We appreciate the public’s patience with this project.”
The WVDOH was able to reopen the bridge to traffic in September 2017 after minor repairs to the modern bridge superstructure to ensure the bridge was safe. Consultants then developed plans on how to best replace the structure.
Consultants Mead & Hunt, who have done extensive work on the Philippi Covered Bridge, determined what portions of the old wooden superstructure could be saved and installed temporary bracing to shore up the remains of the roof system.
Tiger Diversified LLC, in Upshur County, was awarded a contract in May 2021 to provide the timber for the restoration. Contractors for Span 1, LLC just finished installing scaffolding and rigging to replace the bridge’s wooden siding and portions of the upper superstructure.
Now that all the rigging is in place, the District 7 bridge department can go to work replacing all the wood.
“Our crews don’t typically do this kind of bridge work, but they’re excited about it,” Cooper said. “They’re looking forward to having a part in the history of the bridge.”
The restoration of the bridge will begin with a thorough cleaning.
The bridge was built in 1856 by brothers Emmett and Daniel O’Brien and crosses the Buckhannon River near Carrollton. At 140 feet, it is one of the longest surviving covered bridges in West Virginia.
The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
District 7 hopes to complete the restoration by fall.