CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A long-abandoned pedestrian bridge over I-64/77 will be demolished, highway officials confirmed.

The Capitol Hill Walkway, which was built in the 1970s, has been closed to the public since 1994 due to safety concerns.

A contractor has been hired to do the work, which should begin when the weather improves, officials said. According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, contractors have begun preparing for demolition by removing material from inside the pedestrian bridge.

Some residents told 13 News they’re thrilled the walkway is coming down saying it’s not useful anymore and presents too many issues. Others said they’re hoping it will be fixed so people could use it again.

“I don’t think they should tear it down. I think they should fix it and make it available to people here on the hill,” Grey said. “We have the same problem with people coming up here with or without the bridge. We have quite a bit of traffic from folks that don’t live up here who steal and do damage to property.”

Brandon Dawson who has worked alongside the bridge for eight years. Even though he said the walkway would be convenient for travel, he said it’s an eyesore that needs to be fixed.

“If they were to tear and down and paint this bridge it would be nicer,” Dawson said. “I wish it could stay open. but it would be difficult to do and not have any issues with.”

WV DOT officials said the demolition is part of a larger beautification project to clean and paint nine interstate bridges and six interstate ramps through downtown Charleston.

As the project gets underway, WV DOT officials said there may be lane closures, and the West Virginia Division of Highways will inform the public when those are expected to happen.

The project is expected to be completed by November 2023.