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WVDOH demolishes northbound span of South Fairmont West Virginia Arch Bridge as part of I-79 widening project

CHARLESTON, WV – On Friday, December 8, 2023, contractors for the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) used explosives to demolish the northbound span of the South Fairmont West Virginia Arch Bridge on Interstate 79. The demolition is part of a massive project to widen I-79 to six lanes from Harrison County almost to the Pennsylvania state line.

Pennsylvania-based Swank Construction was awarded a contract for $72.5 million for the widening project, which included construction of a new six-lane bridge in place of the two South Fairmont West Virginia Arch Bridges that carry I-79 over the Tygart River near the White Hall exit. The southbound span of the old bridge was demolished in March 2023.

Contractors set up a rolling roadblock to set off explosives on the other span at about 10 a.m. Only authorized personnel were allowed within the explosives loading/handling area. Public viewing was not allowed due to safety concerns. Marion County Route 60, Vinegar Hill Road, was closed throughout the week in preparation for demolition of the bridge.

The new I-79 bridge over the Tygart river is about half complete. Contractors first built one quarter of the new southbound bridge before demolishing the old southbound span, then built the second quarter.

Now that the old northbound bridge has been demolished, the northbound half of the new bridge can be built. The widening project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2025.

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