POINT PLEASANT — The annual routine inspection of the Bartow Jones Bridge will start next week, according to the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH).
Carrie Bly, spokesperson for WVDOH, said Fox Engineering and Construction of Ripley will be performing the inspection. The bridge was last inspected June 12, 2013.
Bly said the Bartow Jones Bridge is on a 12-month inspection frequency but the designated inspection frequency will vary for any given structure depending on the type of bridge being inspected and its current condition. Federal law mandates the inspection of all publicly owned bridges. These mandated inspections became law after the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967.
In a release from Fox Engineering, the firm says the inspection will run Tuesday to Saturday. Fox will be enacting a single-lane closure for the inspection equipment to ensure one lane of traffic in each direction is open at all times, minimizing delays.
Fox officials are also asking drivers to be aware this area will be a work zone and to drive safely around employees performing the inspection.
Typically, reports on the inspection findings are not required for 90 days to WVDOH.
There are some 36,000 miles of state-maintained highways that include 6,636 bridges (this figure does not include 238 railroad bridges, 117 city and county bridges, 99 West Virginia Turnpike bridges, 20 state park bridges, two private toll bridges and 132 other non-highway bridges), according to WVDOH.
According to statistics published semiannually by WVDOH’s Maintenance Division, nearly 3,000 bridges (45 percent) are 20 to 50 feet in length, with 1,513 (nearly 23 percent) from 51 to 100 feet long. Longer and longer structures are fewer and fewer in number, with those from 501 to 1,000 feet in length totaling 147, those from 1,001 to 2000 feet totaling 74, those from 2,001 to 3000 feet only 17 and those whose length is greater than 3000 feet just four.
Only 50 of West Virginia’s bridges were built before 1900 and only 354 in the following two decades. The majority, nearly 3,990 (60 percent) were built between 1960 and 1999. Of nearly 50 types of bridges listed, the greatest number are steel stringer (2,411) and pre-cast concrete box beam (1,532), with only 82 constructed of timber.
The Bartow Jones Bridge was completed in 1998.