Steel repairs coming to Grant Street Bridge in February
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - The West Virginia Department of Transportation says the Grant Street Bridge will see minor repairs throughout January in preparation for steel work to be done on the bridge. They say beginning Feb. 6, Norfolk Southern has approved a schedule to begin the steel repairs.
The bridge has been closed for more than three years now. It was deemed unsafe in 2019. The hope for a replacement became a reality when construction started in January 2022. But construction was later halted due to concerns with the center pier for the span that connects the northside of Bluefield to downtown. The city official representing the affected community blames the delay solely on Norfolk Southern.
“We as a board are doing everything we can do. We as a city are doing everything we can do. But Norfolk Southern doesn’t have the impact they once had in this area anymore and I don’t feel like they see the true essence of what the east end represents and what a grant street bridge represents. We still matter and our voices still matter,” said District One Board Member, Treyvon Simmons.
Simmons says the issue has nothing to do with color and has everything to do with helping the area of Bluefield he grew up in.
“It’s not a black or white issue, it’s a human rights issue. People deserve quick emergency response times and deserve easy access to get to easy parts of town. You know in the winter time you have to go around two access points that are long and narrow,” said Simmons.
Residents remain upset that the bridge hasn’t been completed since being closed in 2019. One man says he used to use the bridge as a quicker way to get across town and go to places like Grants. He says he won’t be satisfied until the bridge is complete.
“Looks like to me they’ve had long enough to do what they’re supposed to. They say it’s the railroad’s fault and they say they gave it to the city and all this stuff. It’s hard on the old people,” said Melvin Lewis.
People in northside have been forced to take the long way in and out of their community for years now, and hope the bridge replacement projects gets back on track this year.
We did reach out to Norfolk Southern for comment on the situation but have not heard back during the time this article was written. We will continue to monitor developments with the Grant Street Bridge.
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