Wellsburg Bridge Lift on Tap Wednesday, Thursday
WELLSBURG — An event marking the completion of the most significant milestone to date for the Wellsburg Bridge Project is tentatively scheduled for the middle of this week, according to officials with Flatiron Construction and the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
Constructed entirely offsite, the tied-arch span section of the Wellsburg bridge will be transported by barge approximately one mile down the Ohio River from its current location along the shoreline at the south end of Wellsburg, then lifted into place onto the existing piers. Weather pending, the much anticipated move will take place beginning early Wednesday. It concludes Thursday with the actual lifting and positioning of the span onto the piers, according to Flatiron and DOH officials.
When completed, the Wellsburg Bridge will connect Route 2 in Wellsburg with Ohio 7 in Brilliant, providing an important artery for communities in northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.
Prior to the start of the bridge float, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the media has been invited to a staging area near the tied arch span. There, Flatiron officials will share opening remarks and important information regarding the two-day event schedule.
Over a nearly four-hour span, the tied-arch span will float down river past the piers before being turned 90 degrees and positioned in the final orientation at the lifting location just south of the piers. Crews are expected to begin the slow lifting process beginning at 3:30 a.m, Thursday and continue the process through the afternoon hours before the structure is moved and lowered into place on top of the bridge piers.
Once the tied arch span is secured in place, the jacking system will be lowered to clear the bridge and transported to a barge slip area back upstream.
Flatiron Construction obtained a permit to halt river traffic in that area throughout the bridge moving project, according to Flatiron officials. In addition, the section of W.Va. 2 near the bridge site is expected to be closed at times over the two-day process. As of Friday afternoon, both Flatiron and DOH officials did not verify those closure times. Ohio 7 is expected to remain open throughout the two days.
West Virginia Division of Highways District 6 Engineer Tony Clark said the jacking system will be used to move the tied arch span because no cranes are heavy enough to support a structure of this size.
“So they’re jacking it up from below in increments,” he said. “It’s going to take a few hours to jack it up. They’re just going to move slow and it’s going to take some time. At the end of the day, it is a very large lift.”
According to West Virginia Division of Highways Area Engineer Mike Witherow, the tied arch span steel is prefabricated steel that was painted before the span was assembled — so it will remain the brown color it is now.