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Cooperative Connection

By Staff | Dec 30, 2008

This new footbridge was provided to Rhoda and Cora Sivert through a cooperative effort after a more than 40-year-old span was rotting in place and noticed by a Chesapeake Energy employee.

After 40 plus years, the small wooden footbridge that crossed the headwaters of Lynn Camp to Rhoda and Cora Sivert’s homeplace was showing signs of weathering and age.

Some of the locust posts that held it in place have needed to be replaced with metal pipe. And, although still useable, there were gaps in the curled decking, much of it being victimized by dry rot. The sisters, in their 70s, had to be careful where they stepped.

Officials from Chesapeake Energy noticed that when they began excavating a pond on the property that will hold water for its drilling operations, located a couple of miles away.

In Steve Mossor’s words, “The bridge looked scary, not something I’d want my family to use.” Mossor, Chesapeake’s construction supervisor, was so unsettled by the imagery of the bridge, he determined to commit a Random Act of Kindness that ultimately involved several people, working for several companies, located in several places in West Virginia.

After designing a new bridge himself, Mossor enlisted other Chesapeake personnel on the manufacture and installation of a new, safer crossing. This one made of steel, not subject to dry rot.

He consulted with Chief Land Manager Randy Orsburn, Pipeline Foreman Brian Skidmore and Chesapeake’s District Manager Mark Watkins before giving his design to Byers Welding in Weston to manufacture the structure. What came out was a bridge 36 foot long by three feet wide, with a three-foot high railing.

Mossor then recruited Kanawha Stone in Weston to transport it the 80 some miles to Sivert’s property, where Davy Lee of Mountaineer Resources in Buckhannon unloaded it with an excavator and lowered it to the ground. After bolting it in place, it was a done deal.

The bridge is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, even though Rhoda and Cleo are not among its intended beneficiaries. They still raise their garden and four head of Herefords. But Rhoda does acknowledge that she and her sister “need help sometimes to put up hay”. The old bridge? It was re-located to another crossing on the property-one that Rhoda and Cleo don’t much use.