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W.Va. officials approve Shepherdstown Bridge design

April 03, 2001

W.Va. officials approve Shepherdstown Bridge design



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


The state Division of Highways on Monday selected a design for the proposed new Shepherdstown Bridge that will feature an access lane for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The bridge, which will replace the current span that carries W.Va. 480 over the Potomac River, will have a higher elevation on the West Virginia side, said Division of Highways spokesman Ben Hark.

The hope is that will make the owners of the Bavarian Inn and Lodge more comfortable with the project, Hark said.

The bridge design has drawn concerns from owners of the Bavarian Inn because under one scenario, they would have been required to give up a piece of land for the bridge.

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Under the bridge design picked by the highways department Monday, the higher span will allow easier access to the Bavarian Inn, which sits on a steep hill overlooking the Potomac River, according to Hark.

The current bridge is below the Bavarian Inn.

"Right now, you have a pretty steep grade to get up in there," Hark said.

The owners of the Bavarian Inn could not be reached for comment.

The new bridge is scheduled to be completed by 2003, Hark said.

Under the construction plan, the current bridge will continue to carry traffic while the new span is being built about 50 feet upstream, Hark said.

The new bridge will have two 12-foot lanes and an 8-foot sidewalk on the downstream side that will be used for foot and bicycle traffic, Hark said.

To avoid disruption in the Cress Creek community near Shepherdstown, access to the river for construction equipment will be on the Maryland side of the river, Hark said.

Hark said the bridge design selected Monday, referred to as Alternative F, is probably the one that will be built. He noted it is the design that was supported by the U.S. Park Service.

The U.S. Park Service operates the C&O Canal National Historical Park, which runs along the river.

Another public meeting on the subject will be held this spring in Shepherdstown to gather information and input on the best way to blend the new bridge into the natural surroundings of the area, according to a press release from the highways department.

The highways department, along with the State of Maryland, wants to build a new bridge because the current 61-year-old span is deteriorating.

Highway officials have said they will make any repairs needed to the bridge to keep it safe until the new bridge is built.

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