Van Metre Ford bridge to be retired

Construction of a new three-lane replacement could begin next year

July 22, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Built in 1832, the one-lane, Van Metre Ford Bridge over Opequon Creek east of Martinsburg serves about 6,000 vehicles per day. It will be replaced by a three-lane bridge upstream.
Matthew Umstead, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- After more than 165 years in service, retirement is in sight for Berkeley County's Van Metre Ford bridge, the state's second oldest span, West Virginia Department of Transportation officials said Thursday.

Construction of a new three-lane bridge upstream from the historic span should begin next year "if everything goes well," Gary R. Klavuhn, the District 5 bridge engineer for the state Division of Highways, said during a press conference.

The project, which includes a sidewalk, is estimated to cost $2.6 million.

Built in 1832, the one-lane, stone-arch bridge for Golf Course Road over Opequon Creek east of Martinsburg serves about 6,000 vehicles per day, according to highway officials.

"If you have a tenth of that, you should have a two-lane bridge," Klavuhn said.

Van Metre, which is one of three bridges with a 2-ton weight limit in Berkeley County, eventually will be closed to vehicles, but will remain open to foot traffic, Klavuhn said. The state's oldest bridge is in the Northern Panhandle, he said.


The bridge is one of several projects in the Eastern Panhandle that are in various stages of planning, development or construction, highway officials said.

J. Lee Thorne, District 5 engineer and manager, said a lot of people feel the like Eastern Panhandle has been shorted on highway funding, but he found that statistics indicating about 40 percent of the construction dollars spent in each of the last 10 years has been for projects in the seven easternmost counties that comprise the district he manages.

"A lot of money has been spent over here ... a lot more needs to be spent here," Thorne said after the meeting.

At Thursday's meeting, state DOH officials released the status of the following projects:

Interstate 81

o The median barrier project between Exit 12 (Winchester Avenue) and mile marker 18 is 25 percent complete and is scheduled to be done by Nov. 1 with signage work remaining.

o Construction of traffic signals for interstate ramps at Exit 14 (Dry Run Road) is scheduled to begin the first week of August.

o The Tabler Station Connector, the new route from I-81 to U.S. 11 and a widened bridge over the interstate at Exit 8 is about 70 percent complete. The contractor, which also is working on a median project, anticipates completion by the end of the year. The DOH expects the work might not be finished until next year.

W.Va. 9

o The section of new four-lane route east of the Opequon Creek bridge to Leetown Road is on schedule to open at the end of August.

o A grading contract for the section east of Cattail Run to the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County and structure over Bloomery Road is 94 percent complete with grading work to be done.

o Grading and paving work east of the yet-to-be constructed Shenandoah River bridge is 39 percent complete and is scheduled to be completed in May 2011.

o Landscaping along sections between Martinsburg and Charles Town, W.Va., including trees and shrubs around historic structures, is slated to be done this fall.

U.S. 11

o Widening of the route to include a turn lane in the Wheatland-Pikeside area is 91 percent complete with estimated completion set for the end of August or the first week of September.

o The addition of left-turn lanes and a traffic signal for the intersection at Bedington Crossroads is on schedule to be advertised in October.

Raleigh Street Extension

o Construction of the first section of a new 1.2-mile north-south connector in the City of Martinsburg is expected to begin next month after right-of-way issues are resolved.

o Right-of-way negotiations have begun with owners of 15 parcels in the second section of the project, which has yet to be advertised.

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