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Pedestrian bridge goes up at roundhouse

November 30, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? Just after 10 a.m. Saturday, the much-anticipated pedestrian bridge was gently lifted to its final destination between the Caperton Train Station and the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center.

But a short time later, the huge structure was returned to the ground until a minor adjustment could be made for a secure connection.

"It didn't quite fit," said Vaughn Neill, an employee of DMJM Harris, an engineering consulting firm working with CRX on the bridge installation.

Neill said the necessary adjustments were made and once again, train traffic was halted for the work to resume.

The bridge was back up to stay by 2 p.m., Neill said by telephone from the Martinsburg station.

Originally, the plan was to lift the bridge into place around 8:30 a.m. using a 240-ton crane that arrived at the station on Friday.

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Despite the overcast skies and periods of rain, people began showing up shortly after 8 a.m. to view the installation.

"I've lived up the hill from the station all my life," Marion McCormack said. "I always come down to watch the trains."

As the rain started up again, McCormack said she was thinking about going home for an umbrella, but didn't want to miss anything.

Turns out she had nothing to worry about since the installation was delayed about 90 minutes because of trains coming through the station.

"I'm just curious, so I came down," said Tim Yates, who said he knew it was going be happening on Saturday.

Neill said he was there for oversight purposes.

"I love riding trains and watching trains," he said.

Norval Johnston of Martinsburg said he read about the bridge installation and decided to come to see it. He was well equipped for the weather with a jacket and an umbrella.

On the far side of the Caperton Train Station near the parking lot, another crowd gathered for the event, some with cameras set up on tripods.

Once the crane began lifting the bridge into the air, it became apparent that it was to hook up with a prepared docking on the side of the station, then span the railroad tracks to a tower that then will lead into the roundhouse.

Last July, C. William "Bill" Hayes, executive director of the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center, said he expected the installation to be done during the night and without much public attendance.

It was to have been completed by the end of 2006, but instead was delayed until Saturday. The goal of the bridge is to eliminate the need to take a bus or drive a circuitous route on back streets to reach the roundhouse.

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