Market Street Bridge to Close for Repairs

The Market Street Bridge will be closed next week while crews install a weight and motion sensor aimed at deterring overweight and high-speed traffic over the span.

Officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways have announced the bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with the Veterans Memorial Bridge established as the official detour.

Officials said rain or other unforeseen circumstances could affect the project’s schedule.

Bayliss and Ramey of Fraziers Bottom, W.Va., is the contractor for the $200,000 project while staff with Eletronique Controle Mesure Inc., a French company with headquarters in Buda, Texas, will oversee the installation and calibration of the sensors, which it supplied.

Gary Graley, project manager for the Division of Highways, said the equipment is capable of counting each vehicle as it approaches the span and measuring and recording its weight and speed as it passes. Crews created an underground box and conduit for the equipment earlier this year.

The purpose of the equipment is to alert state highway officials involved in regulating truck traffic of overweight vehicles entering the bridge, which has a 5-ton weight limit. Data stored in the equipment can be accessed through a wireless modem.

Graley said no video cameras have been posted to record the passing vehicles.

But the equipment records the date and time of the violation and can aid truck enforcement officials in identifying violators if they are in the vicinity or show a traffic pattern that may help to identify recurring violators, he said.

While metal arches have been added to prevent tall trucks from entering the span, there are other overweight vehicles that may pass through them, he said.

Graley said the idea is to protect the investment that has been made in refurbishing the span.

Over the last two years the bridge underwent $15 million in renovations that included repainting and lighting it, repairing its towers, approach spans and trusses and lowering its clearance by a foot to prevent overweight vehicles from violating the 5-ton weight limit.

The bridge was closed from January to November 2010 and again from March to December 2011 while the work was completed in two phases.