Silver Memorial Bridge work pushed to May 2014

Beth Sergent

October 22, 2013

OHIO VALLEY — Though upgrades to the Silver Memorial Bridge had been moving toward an early completion date, that has hit a snag.

As the routine work progressed on the bridge, an unexpected repair was added to the list which means the work will now be completed by the original completion date of May 2014 - not next month as reported earlier this year.

According to Carrie Bly, spokesperson with the West Virginia Department of Transportation, additional work will be required on the “tooth dams” on the bridge which are a type of expansion joint. These “tooth dams” look like interlocking fingers on the surface of the bridge. Work on these expansion joints (which includes replacing them) will start within the next week or two, Bly said.

On Monday, Bly also added the concrete deck overlay on the bridge has been completed.

There is no word yet on just how much this unexpected repair will add to the $3.5 million upgrade. The upgrade has entailed concrete patching and repairs to the bridge piers and parapet walls. The scope of the work has also included electrical work done on the structure aimed around replacing lights, including navigational lights under the bridge and roadway lights on the surface. The final component of the project was to be resurfacing the structure across all four lanes but now that final component will be replacement of the “tooth dams.”

Bridge expansion joints are described as being designed to allow for continuous traffic between structures accommodating movement, shrinkage, temperature variations on reinforced and prestressed concrete, composite and steel structures. They basically stop a bridge from bending out of place in extreme conditions.

Motorists should continue to expect one lane of traffic to be shut down on the bridge in both directions until the project is basically completed. As the nature of the work has changed, so has the traffic pattern from time to time — a pattern, which again, will ultimately return to the original when the job is complete.

The Silver Memorial Bridge opened to traffic in 1969. The upgrade to the bridge has been described as “routine.”