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Inspection keeps P’ville bridge closed

PROCTORVILLE – Late night commuters will need to find an alternate route into Huntington, W.

Tuesday, November 16, 1999

PROCTORVILLE – Late night commuters will need to find an alternate route into Huntington, W.Va., or into Proctorville this week.

West Virginia Department of Highways contractors are conducting their annual inspection of the 31st Street Bridge, and the bridge will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Wednesday night, said Chuck Hughes, WVDOH bridge inspection coordinator for District 2.

"West Virginia maintains and inspects that bridge," Hughes said. "As part of their inspection, they do some sort of a deck survey, and they must shut off all traffic to the bridge in order to take the readings. They also do a testing – a vibration test – of the cables. That also requires keeping all traffic off the bridge."

Although most other bridges in the area are only inspected every other year, the 31st Street Bridge’s unique design requires inspections to occur more frequently, Hughes added.

"It’s a cable-stayed, suspension-type bridge," he said. "Because of its unique construction, we have a consulting firm inspect it. We’re just monitoring the bridge right now. We’re making sure everything’s working as it should be."

Unfortunately, traveling delays are unavoidable during the inspections, Hughes said.

"It’s kind of an inconvenience to the public, but it’s necessary to maintain the safety of the bridge," he said. "We’re closing it at night to limit the inconvenience. There shouldn’t be that much traffic out at that time of night. But for those who do have to travel, the only thing they can do is go over the Sixth Street Bridge."