CHARLESTON, WV – Demolition work is beginning this week on Bluefield’s Grant Street Bridge. The bridge is being torn down to make way for an all-new span.
The bridge, built in 1941 to provide access from downtown Bluefield and Princeton Avenue to the town’s North End and East Side, has been closed since June 2019, leaving motorists with a lengthy detour to get in and out of those parts of town.
In October 2020, Gov. Jim Justice announced $10.5 million in federal, state and local funding to replace the decaying structure. Highways officials helped hammer out an agreement between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the city of Bluefield, who jointly owned the old bridge.
Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern agreed to turn over ownership of the bridge to the city of Bluefield, and agreed to give city officials $500,000 as local match funding for construction. The West Virginia Division of Highways agreed to manage the project, with $8 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration and $2 million in funding from state sources.
In the spring of 2021, Brayman Construction Corporation was awarded a contract for $8,097,117.21 to tear down the old bridge and replace it with a brand-new structure.
Replacement of the bridge will provide easy access to all parts of town and US 19.
Demolition of the existing bridge was scheduled to begin Monday, August 2, 2021, and last about seven months. Due to the way the bridge was originally built, it will be disassembled one piece at a time.
The new bridge, built on the same footprint as the existing span, will be 330 feet long. Construction is expected to take about six months.