PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Travelers can expect single lane closures on the Parkersburg Memorial Bridge Monday as crews begin preparation work on a major reconstruction project.
The first phase of the project includes repairing structural steel supports.
Ken Szeliga, vice president of construction and operations at United Bridge Partners, told MetroNews the bridge, which connects West Virginia to Ohio, has not been repaired since it was built in 1955.
“It’s approaching a point where, in its service life, it requires a full rehabilitation, so our commitment to the city is to go ahead and rehabilitate the structure and extend it another 50 years of service life,” Szeliga said.
Crews will begin strengthening the bridge before the full scale reconstruction can start in March 2022. The project has been delayed in recent weeks as crews wait on certain materials to come in.
One of the new additions to the bridge will be what Szeliga refers to as “decorate aesthetic lighting.”
“Colored lighting, for example, at Christmas time we can turn on red and green lights and customize it based upon the time of year,” he said.
There will be a complete deck removal/replacement and new paint.
“The existing paint is lead based paint. They’ll be a detainment system to essentially sand blast off the existing paint and put on a new paint. We’re going to go back to the original color the bridge was designed with and restore that from a preservation perspective,” Szeliga said.
Parkersburg Bridge Partners won a bid earlier this year to design, rehabilitate, operate and maintain the bridge.
The half-mile long bridge has included tolls since it opened. A spokesperson said those tolls are expected to increase by $0.50 once construction is finished.
The updated bridge is scheduled to be complete in Oct. 2023.