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Falling Concrete Necessitates Wooden Barrier On Overpass

By Staff | Jan 14, 2009

West Virginia Division of Highways make it safe to go under the Dick Snyder Memorial Bridge in New Martinsville by installing a wooden barrier that would catch any loose concrete. (Photo by Amy Witschey)

Last week West Virginia Division of Highways workers put up a wooden “safety net” under the Dick Snyder Memorial Bridge that goes over W.Va. 2 in New Martinsville onto the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial Bridge.

The barrier made of two by fours and plywood was prompted by an incident on Jan. 3 at about 2 p.m. when two pieces of concrete fell from the overpass and smashed through the windshield of a car driven by Jana Shannon of Proctor. The concrete hit Shannon’s wrist and landed on the accelerator, but she told New Martinsville Police she was not injured.

DOH District Six Bridge Crew Supervisor Mike Brant said the concrete was part of the bridge’s honch, a piece that provides surface continuity between the upper surface and the upper surface of the beam flange. He said the piece that fell was 22 inches long.

Brant said the deterioration of the concrete is because of freezing and thawing over the almost 50 years since the overpass was constructed.

“It’s on the list to be redecked,” noted Brant, but said he cannot say when that might take place.

On Jan. 4 crews knocked off any concrete that was loose and in danger of falling. Then they covered the underside of the bridge with the temporary wooden structure.

“This will make it almost 100 percent safe,” said Brant.

A similar situation has happened in Wheeling.

On the overpass above 29th Street they used large nets to catch any falling concrete, but on the back channel crossing of I-70 above parking lots the DOH put up a wooden barrier similar to the one in New Martinsville.