As part of the massive Interstate 70 bridge rehab project, crews in Ohio County have the daunting task of ripping up and hauling away more than 50,000 cubic yards of concrete decking.
The question is, “Where do you dump that much concrete?”
The answer — The Highlands.
Truckloads of slabs are being taken to an area adjacent to the site where a new Menards home improvement superstore is under construction.
The discarded decking slabs are destined to be repurposed, as the result of an agreement between the Ohio County Development Authority and the Swank Construction Company.
Ohio County Commissioner Randy Wharton, who is president of the development authority, said the agreement will expedite the bridges project and help the county.
“They need someplace to dump all that material,” Wharton said. “In the end, we will be able to bust up some of the slabs for possible use as roadbed material or used as clean fill.”
IN THE MIX
Slab storage is not the only thing eyed for unused acreage at The Highlands. Plans are to put a temporary concrete mixing plant in the area to make concrete readily available during nighttime hours as the job progresses. Wharton said work will continue around the clock.
Swank Construction, of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, is general contractor for the $215 million project.
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Deck removal work began in November on the I-70 bridge stretching from Wheeling Island to Marion Street in Bridgeport after workers completed a crossover that routed traffic from the westbound onto the eastbound lane. Slab removal work is focused on the westbound side of the bridge.
A LONG ROAD AHEAD
DOH also plans to remove two inches of decking on the Fort Henry Bridge in preparation for a concrete modified latex overlay to the bridge surface.
Workers made a second crossover near Middle Creek to route one westbound lane into the eastbound side.
Plans are to replace the east and westbound I-70 Fulton Bridges, located on the east side of the Wheeling Tunnel. The remaining 24 bridges between the Ohio and Pennsylvania borders will be rehabilitated over a three-year period.
Preliminary work is ongoing under the Fulton Bridges without disrupting traffic flow during the Winter Festival of Lights. The complete closure for the westbound side of I-70, where the Fulton Bridge is located, is set for Feb. 1, 2020, until Nov. 1, 2020, with the eastbound closure planned from Feb.1, 2021, to Nov. 1, 2021. Both sides will be re-opened, from Nov. 1, 2020, until Feb.1, 2021, to allow for the Winter Festival of Lights traffic during that time.
• Fred Connors is a retired investigative, criminal courts and police reporter for the Wheeling newspapers. He holds multiple West Virginia Press Association awards, as well as one from the Southern Newspaper Publishers’ Association. Fred lives in Wheeling with his new bride, Sharon Kennedy Connors.