Options for Glen Dale Bridge Under Consideration

Photo by Alan Olson Marshall County commissioners continue to review options to fix this collapsing bridge in Glen Dale.

After last week’s outpouring of community concern over an unusable and collapsing bridge near St. Jude Park, Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart returned to say the matter was actively being pursued.

During the Tuesday Marshall County Commission meeting, Hart said he spoke with several representatives from local and state agencies to begin the process of finding a solution for the bridge, which connects residents of five homes to the main road from across a creek in Glen Dale. With the previous bridge now completely impassable, a nearby submarine bridge consisting of a cracked concrete pad had also been noticed to be crumbling apart. If this span fails, residents said they fear being isolated.

Hart had previously petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with renovating the bridge, but was denied due to a lack of resources when the matter was brought up, during the flooding in July, which devastated parts of Marshall County.

“We had a rep from FEMA, Rose Hart from Appalachian Outreach, and a rep from the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, to look at the bridge in question, so they can start the appeal process,” Hart said. “Rose is working with the FEMA rep from the Long-Term Recovery Committee to assist with the appeals process of the residents affected by the issue.”

Additionally, Hart said county representatives from various contracting firms continue to assess options for the bridge, including whether parts can be repaired or salvaged, as well as the possibility of adding a temporary foot bridge in the meantime.

“There’s nothing permanent or definite at this point, just discussions about the possibility of some type of a walking bridge through VOAD, to allow residents to have access,” Hart added. “VOAD has engineers and also the design team for (the West Virginia Conservation Agency), and hopefully they can work together and get this proposed, and of course, we would be involved as well.”

“They’re also looking into the long-term, if the restoration project goes through, about the actual driving bridge,” he added. “Try to salvage the bridge and do some restoration and try to get it taken care of.”

Hart said they would be examining proposals to install a temporary bridge for the residents, should the bridge eventually fall in the creek, but that the temporary state of the bridge would be a concern.

“They don’t want to put in a walking bridge that’s going to hinder the restoration project, but also they don’t want to put a bridge in and then have it removed,” Hart said. “They want to have one where they can put a walking bridge in and still do the restoration.”

The commissioners received Hart’s report without taking action.