UPDATE: February 7, 2020, 4:15 p.m.: Following yesterday’s emergency closure of the eastbound lanes at the I-64 St. Albans-Nitro Bridge, the West Virginia Division of Highways continues to make progress, as bridge crews work around the clock to make repairs to the failed expansion joint.
“This is a complex job for any contractor but our DOH bridge crews are doing an amazing job,” said State Bridge Engineer Tracy Brown. “They have worked continuously, in the elements, to make the repairs and we are making good progress. To complete these repairs within 48 hours will really be a testament to the perseverance of the hard-working men and women of the Division of Highways.”
Thursday evening, crews worked under the structure replacing the shims and bolts on the expansion joint and since early Friday morning have been building the forms in preparation to pour the concrete.
“Once we complete the forms, we will call for concrete and, in a short time window, will pour, test, and when safe, open the road to traffic,” Brown said. “While we still have some major work to do, under these conditions, everyone should be proud of the work our team is doing to make these repairs and re-open this bridge to traffic.”
The WVDOH is continuing to monitor the detour routes and work with law enforcement to facilitate the flow of traffic.
UPDATE: February 6, 2020, 5:30 p.m.: At a press conference this afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Transportation gave more details on the emergency repairs that have closed the eastbound lanes of I-64 at the bridge between St. Albans and Nitro due to a failing expansion joint on the bridge and caused major traffic delays that are expected to last for possibly 24 to 48 hours.
WVDOT officials were first made aware of the problem around 10 a.m. this morning. The two-foot-wide middle plate of a shin was about to come out into traffic. The WVDOT says they closed the bridge immediately as a safety concern. They also say that they had never seen one of these stacks of shins fall apart so quickly.
Officials say they believe a bolt rusted and fell and at that point, one of the stacks of shins fell.
Crews are hoping to get the repairs finished as quickly as possible, however, they say weather may play a factor in how quickly it can be fixed. Colder temperatures could impact the pouring of concrete needed for the repairs.
The WVDOT says this is a busy stretch of the interstate, and the large volume of traffic being rerouted is overloading detour routes. The Department of Highways will be monitoring intersections on side roads during Friday rush hour.
The WVDOT is coordinating this incident with Ohio and Kentucky to limit transportation along I-64, making every effort to alert drivers and find other alternatives, especially for truck drivers that may be coming through the area.
UPDATE: February 6, 2020, 1:15 p.m.: The West Virginia Department of Transportation says the WV Division of Highways has closed the eastbound lanes of I-64 at the bridge between St. Albans and Nitro due to a failing expansion joint on the bridge. Crews are assessing the damage and planning for repairs.
The closure is expected to be in effect until at least tomorrow morning.
Traffic is being detoured onto US Route 60. All traffic not already on US-60 will be detoured at Exit 44 at St. Albans.
DOH crews say they will be monitoring the traffic along the detours and will provide the necessary services to keep traffic moving.
DOH officials advise that westbound traffic may also be affected with slow-downs as the detoured traffic makes its way through the system. Drivers traveling on I-64 West are asked to slow down and be alert.
Additional information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.
NITRO, W.Va. (WOWK) – The West Virginia Department of Transportation says the eastbound lanes of I-64 are closed on the Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge between Nitro and St. Albans for emergency repairs. The WVDOT says drivers should avoid the area and use detours.
According to West Virginia 511, drivers can use Route 60 as a detour and should expect significant delays.