CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patrick Flatley approved Thursday a financing plan for the construction of a new bridge at Crossings Mall in Elkview.

A bridge leading to the mall was destroyed in the June 2016 flood. More than 500 people who worked at the mall and nearby properties lost their jobs.

The announcement comes less than three weeks after the Kanawha County Commission requested a hearing on the bridge. An in-person hearing was held April 6.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said the owner, Tara Retail Group, has a “legal right” to try to reorganize his business.

“The judge correctly did what bankruptcy law allows,” he said.

The court approved allowing David Alvarez of Applied Construction Solutions in Bridgeport to begin work as soon as possible. He anticipates the project will be completed within 60 days.

According to a release from the Kanawha County Commission, the contractor has agreed to front the costs of the bridge in exchange for priority status as a creditor.

Carper said a starting date has not been set, but he expects the bridge to be completed by late summer.

“I feel so sorry for the Elk community in general,” he said. “It’s been a tragedy for the employees, but at least this is some sign of hope.”

The ruling also requires Tara Retail Group to report to the court on the status of construction.

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