Last updated: April 08. 2014 6:28PM - 1735 Views
Beth Sergent bsergent@civitasmedia.com

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OHIO VALLEY — Work on the Silver Memorial Bridge could extend into July, with June as a best-case scenario for the upgrade to wrap up.

The original contract completion date was May 30 though, as previously reported, that date was pushed back after discovering additional repairs were needed to the structure.

In October, Carrie Bly, spokesperson with the West Virginia Department of Transportation, said additional work was required on the “tooth dams” — or “finger dams, ” a type of expansion joint — on the bridge. These pieces look like interlocking fingers on the surface of the bridge.

Last week, Bly said the replacement of the steel “finger dams” hadn’t started, though replacement of other expansion joints was currently ongoing. All this extra work resulted in a change order in the amount of $372,000, Bly said.

The additional work was not included in the original $3.5 million price tag. 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 “dams.”

Bridge expansion joints are described as being designed to allow for continuous traffic between structures accommodating movement, shrinkage, temperature variations on reinforced and pre-stressed 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 original upgrade to the bridge has been described as “routine,” though the additional work could adequately be described as “unexpected.”

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