CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A new report on bridge conditions across the country found that 21% of the state’s bridges are in poor condition. That makes West Virginia the state with the highest percent of bridges considered to be in poor shape.
“It wasn’t really surprising to us,” said Greg Bailey, Chief Engineer of Operations at the West Virginia Division of Highways. Bailey said the ranking is not as scary as it may seem.
“It is a statistic of concern. It is a concern to us. It is not a statistic for us that says we have a bunch of bridges that are about to be shut down and things like that,” he said. “That is not really the case. What it is telling us is we need to put more of our money on these bridges.”
To be designated as poor a bridge is evaluated in three areas based on a set of guidelines.
“One being the deck that you drive on, one being the super structure that holds the deck up, then there is the sub-structure which is the foundation,” he explained.
Bailey said if even one of those three things on the bridge is marked as poor, the entire bridge is considered poor.
There is work underway now on multiple bridges across the state including in the Barboursville area near the mall and between Nitro and St. Albans. The I-70 project in Wheeling is mainly bridgework also.
“So we have tried to use the Roads to Prosperity money, our federal money, to attack this problem that you are talking about with that statistic,” Bailey said.
The rankings are from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s 2021 Bridge Conditions Report. The report uses data from the Federal Highway Administration National Bridge Inventory.