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Fire Department Responds To Bridge Collapse

By Staff | Jul 1, 2015

Photo Provided Shown is the large hole that was discovered in the center of the Proctor Creek Bridge. The hole is estimated to be 3 feet wide by 12 feet long.

The New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a bridge collapse early Tuesday morning.

New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call on the Proctor Creek Bridge on W.Va. Rt. 2 in Proctor at approximately 2:30 a.m. for a reported collapse of the bridge. When fire fighters arrived, they found a large hole in the center of the two North-Bound lanes near the North end of the span.

The opening was estimated at three feet wide by nearly 12 feet long. Fire fighters closed the bridge in both directions until West Virginia Department of Highways officials could arrive and assess the stability of the bridge and the structure adjoining the opening. DOH personnel began arriving at 4 a.m. and maintained traffic in the South-Bound lanes until plates could be installed over the opening to restore the traffic to normal.

“We error on the side of safety, if part of a bridge simply falls away as a result of obvious deterioration, who’s to say that the same won’t happen with the rest of the bridge,” New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch said. “The condition of these roads isn’t necessarily the fault of the men and women of the DOH, it’s the fault of our state legislature and government. They (the legislature & governor) have all of the inspections, findings, traffic flows, and costs to replace at their finger-tips. They know how dangerous these roads and bridges are.”

This is the second road condition related call that NMVFD has been on in the last two and a half days. The first call was Sunday, just south of New Martinsville, which resulted in an accident and the second being the bridge failure.

“(The bridge failure could have) very easily could have resulted in a serious crash of a passenger vehicle or a hazardous materials hauler, with catastrophic results to the entire Proctor community,” Couch said.

Fire Fighters remained on the scene until 4:40 a.m. when DOH personnel were in place to re-direct traffic and make temporary repairs.