New bridge to span Black Rock Creek

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By Sharon Graves

Safety was a factor in shutting down the Black Rock Road bridge in Ghent and that concern will be resolved when it opens again in September.

Luhn and Oak construction company won the bridge contract to build an HS25 concrete box beam bridge at a cost of $247,909. Construction began shortly after the bridge closed on June 18. It will re-open in early September and will carry 90 tons, the same as any bridge on the interstate, according to Taylor Perkins, with Entran the engineering firm overseeing the project.

The old bridge had a wooden deck covered with asphalt and sat on a rock foundation that has been crumbling in recent years.  The load limit was lowered to six tons last year which would not accommodate school buses or tractor trailers.

New piers have been driven 35 feet into the ground and concreted in according to bridge inspector Bobbie Giles. The old rock supports are still visible, but Giles said in time they would probably be washed away. The new supports are separate from the old ones.

The concrete box beams replacing the old deck were pre-fabricated and brought in by tractor trailer and set in place using a 500 ton crane Thursday, Aug. 20 by Maxim Cranes.

The crane picked up the new beams and swung them out over Black Rock Creek and onto the supports in a matter of minutes, being guided with a rope on one end and a chain on the other by two Maxim employees.

The concrete box beams will be attached to each other and to the supports.  Guardrails will be put in place and Ohio Valley Asphalt will redo the approaches to the bridge before it can open, according to District 3 Magistrate Mark Bates, who was on site Thursday morning.

“The work on the bridge has progressed well,” Giles said.  The parts for the bridge arrived between the rain storms, so the project stayed on schedule.