A memorable day on the jobsite of one of Governor Justice’s Roads to Prosperity projects, the main span of the old Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge was lowered onto a barge for removal today, December 21, 2022.
The section was lowered using strand jacks, the same method used to raise the Nitro WWI Memorial Bridge main span. It was lowered onto barges and transferred for recycling.
“Lowering this center section to get it to the side allows them to reach the other sections with the cranes they have to cut it into pieces and demo it,” said Carl Davis, the project supervisor for consultant Mead & Hunt.
“By demoing the bridge, it allows us to also demo part of the existing piers to rebuild and build the new eastbound structure back in the place it is now.”
The section lowered on Wednesday is 250′ and weighs approximately 1,720,000 pounds. The bridge has served the public for 60 years since it opened to traffic in 1962.
The new Nitro WWI Memorial Bridge, which opened on Friday, October 28, 2022, currently carries both eastbound and westbound traffic. Following the dismantling of the old Donald M Legg Memorial bridge, a new one will be constructed in its place to carry eastbound traffic.
The bridge work is part of an overall project to widen I-64 and remove a bottleneck area where an increase in traffic volumes over the years has led to delays.
Davis expects big steps in 2023 in the overall scope of widening I-64 in that area. The project is 3.9 miles long and includes seven bridges.
“We will continue demoing the existing I-64 river bridge and building a new one back,” Davis said. “We will also get started on the Nitro interchange bridge with the first phase of it.”
“A lot of the bridge demo work can take place during the winter, part of the rebuilding could also take place depending on the temperatures and what kind of weather we get. Construction is all weather related.”
The project is expected to be completed in September 2024.