Bridges Beyond Repair, A 13 News Special Report - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Bridges Beyond Repair, A 13 News Special Report

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Giant cracks in three concrete, chunks of cement falling off, drivers and pedestrians fearful of going under or over...

The challenge of repairing and replacing century-old bridges throughout our region taxes our economy and our patience.

13 News is working for you, looking at some of the worst, most dilapidated bridges, and the best bets for getting them replaced.

Millie Tomlinson told us, "As a little girl when we came here they were beautiful and white and added so much to the park. So, to me it's sad. "

Tomlinson was talking about the busy, century old, crumbling 5th and 8th Street bridges at Ritter Park, with well-traveled walking paths under both decaying structures.

We asked Tomlinson, "Are they scary? A little bit yes, especially if you have to walk under I thought about walking over but walking under is more of a scare."

Park walker David Duke told us, "I don't always feel safe.  I try and wait to see a car go over. We do it daily so there is some chance involved."

Huntington's public works director Jim Insco told 13 News in 2015, "It will be replaced, it's beyond repair"

That's when a 3-ton limit was posted on the 8th street bridge    

The three ton limit on this bridge is not for anything great big.  That limit restricts a medium sized SUV. We found they get a lot more tonnage than that rolling across this bridge all day long.

We saw fire trucks, banned from crossing the 8th Street bridge, rolling across it's just as crumbling sister 5th Street bridge.

We saw other heavier than three ton trucks violating city traffic codes, going over both bridges.

City Communications Director Bryan Chambers told 13 News, "There are designated truck routes in the city, and we do periodically try to enforce that.  It is difficult to enforce that around the clock, though."

Chambers said the already funded city-state partnership to replace the 8th street bridge, and state alone work to replace the 5th street bridge are now in the design and environmental impact phase.

It was Chambers hope that work would begin in 2018, but he said there are no guarantees at the moment.

We had veteran WV structural engineer Paul Martin inspect the bridges in 2015. Martin said then that there were no guarantees these spans would hold out until 2018.

Bryan Chambers said.  "We feel the bridges are safe at this time. But we also know they need to be replaced eventually,

We found that many who pay taxes to use the park and to drive these old bridges said, eventually needs to be sooner than later.    

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