Concrete Pour Complete For One Brooklyn Bridge Pier
Tom Velotta of the Velotta Company stated Tuesday that his company has completed the pouring of concrete to stabilize one of New Martinsville’s Main Street/Brooklyn Bridge’s piers.
The company anticipates pouring concrete for the bridge’s second pier at the beginning of next week. “I don’t know what they are going to do after that,” Velotta noted. “But once they get that poured, all I have to do is get my material and get out of it,” Velotta noted.
Velotta stressed that the bridge project, after Velotta departs from the scene, is out of the company’s hands. He stated that he does not know if the state’s Department of Transportation has to conduct further surveys of the area after Velotta’s completion.
The Wetzel Chronicle left a message at the office of Dan Sikora at West Virginia’s Department of Transportation. However we did not receive a call back by press time.
The Main Street/Brooklyn bridge project has been a source of headaches for New Martinsville’s Brooklyn-area residents since approximately March 2013.
A previous March 2012 inspection of the bridge found the bridge to be deemed as being in “poor condition.” Wetzel County Commission then entered into a contract with the Department of HIghways at the time to rehabilitate piers at the bridge. The contract was issued and signed on May 31, 2012. At this time, commissioners also instituted a 15 Ton weight limit on the bridge, as a safety precaution. A second inspection was conducted in June 2012, and the results of the inspection were mailed to the commission in late February of 2013. Upon receiving the recommendation to close the bridge, the commission sprung into action. Then Commission Vice President Bob Gorby reported at the February 27, 2013 meeting of the Wetzel County Commission that the commission had talked to Paul A. Mattox, Jr., West Virginia’s Commissioner of Highways/Secretary of Transportation to try to expedite the bridge repair.
In an August 2013 Wetzel Chronicle article, it had been reported that District Six Bridge Engineer Dave Sada had reported that the bridge would not go to construction until the end of February. During this August 2013 interview, Sada stated that “There are some hoops that you have to go through.” He noted at that time that the DOH still had not received the 404 permit from the Corps of Engineers and the DNR. At the time, he stated the contract had not been advertised or awarded yet.
During this same time, the Wetzel Chronicle had spoken to several concerned residents of the Brooklyn-area, who expressed frustration at having to wait at railroad crossings, sometimes for 45 minutes, to get out of the Brooklyn-area.
In October 2013, then Commission President Don Mason stated the construction of the bridge would begin much sooner than expected. He stated that credit for expediting the contractual process has to be given to West Virginia Representatives Senator Larry Edgell (D) and Delegate Dave Pethtel (D).
Officials from CSX were also present at this October 2013 meeting and it was noted at the end of the meeting that they would work to keep a crossing open from approximately 6:45-7:45 a.m., as this time period would benefit both morning shift work-goers as well as morning school traffic.
On April 1, 2014, the Wetzel County Commission noted that Velotta had until Aug. 15 to complete the bridge. Unfortunately no one knew when Velotta would start, as their start time depended on water level, as well as the weather.
In early July 2014, the Wetzel Chronicle spoke to Velotta Construction Foreman Jim Stewart, after Velotta showed up at the bridge to begin construction. He stated that the crew would be working four “10s,” meaning hours would be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the days the crew works. At this time it was noted that it would take four to six weeks to complete the project.
On Aug. 13, the Wetzel Chronicle reported that the commission had had two conversations with the Department of Transportation regarding the status of the project. The commission had been notified that water was seeping up through the coffer dams that had been build around the bridge’s piers. However, Velotta was looking into possible solutions to this problem, including membrane liners to seal off the water. Velotta had also expressed the possibility of using divers as well, which appears to be the solution that they have gone with for the project.
Also, on Aug. 5, the city of New Martinsville had a meeting with CSX officials regarding repair of railroad crossings in New Martinsville. Several Brooklyn-area residents also spoke to CSX at this time regarding concerns they had with CSX blocking crossings. At this time CSX reported that they would go through every crossing through New Martinsville to check on needed-repairs. They also stated they would investigate putting gravel on an access road that Brooklyn drive on at times.