|By Bob Weaver|
West Virginia is a state where every bridge has a safety rating.
Weight limits have been enforced on most of them, except if it's an overweight truck owned by a coal company, which has now been legalized.
Replacing or repairing the states bridges to bring them up to standard is said to cost lots of money, maybe billions.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation has provided the Herald with a list of bridge ratings for seven regional counties, obtained through a *Freedom of Information request.
The rating formula is a National Bridge Inventory model, and takes into account a number of parameters for each bridge, according to Clifford W. Essig, District 3 Engineer in Parkersburg. The scale is from zero to 100, with 100 indicating the bridge is in perfect condition.
Bridges have been given a "sufficiency rating" which uses three elements. Fifty-five percent of the rating is structural adequacy, thirty-percent is serviceability and fifteen percent is related to public use, or how many and what type of users.
Bridges that have a span less than 20 feet are considered short spans and are handled through the county. Most of those bridges are crossed each day by trucks exceeding their weight limit.
When the Herald last did a list of bridges in 2003, the Annamoriah Run bridge (Route 35) just off State Route 5 was among the worst with a rating of 21.3868. It has now been replaced, among several others.
The worst Calhoun bridge on the current list is the Apple Farm Bridge on Steer Creek, built in 1915, with a rating of 21.2872.
Egypt Ridge-Rocksdale bridge (1889) over the
West Fork of the Little Kanawha, frequently used
by Calhoun citizens, scores among the most unsafe
The Barnes Run bridge, at the mouth of Barnes Run where it
empties into the West Fork of the Little Kanawha scores low
While the bridge is officially not in Calhoun, but is used by Calhoun residents, the Rocksdale Bridge (1889) that accesses Egypt Ridge to Spencer has one of the worst ratings at 18.6813.
Residents of the lower West Fork, Barnes Run, Hur, Rowels Run, access Spencer by the Rocksdale Bridge (1889), whose rating is very poor. The only other short cut is the low-water bridge at the mouth of Henry's Fork, frequently closed because of water.
Other bridges that appear to have some problems in Calhoun are in the 50 to 60 range:
- Henrietta Bridge/Laurel Creek (1940) Route 5 - 48.4521
- Walnut Grove Slab/Left Fork Barnes Run (1920) Co. Rt. 7 - 50.9017
- Cole Run Culvert (1950) Co. Rt. 2 - 53.2467
- Yellow Creek Bridge (1963) Co. Rt. 4 - 61.5256
- Nicut Run Ribbed Arch (1926) Nicut Run - 61.5655
- Cole Run Culvert (1950) Cole Run - 53.2426
- Burnsville T-Beam (1929) Oil Creek - 41.5232
- Bender Run Pony Tr (1954) - 34.3375
- Upper Mill Creek Tmb (1935) - 48.6083
- Polemic Run T-Rm (1965) - 28.8820
- Strange Creek THTR (1910) - 43.770
- Little Birch River PN TR (1905) 22.0000
- West Porter Creek (1926) Porter Creek - 25.0000
- Big Otter Creek Bridge (1929) - Big Otter Creek- 20.0836
- Dundon Bridge (1928) Elk River - 26.2532
- Dundon Bridge Road (1930) Buffalo Creek - 17.0000
- Dog Run Bridge No. 4 (1953) Dog Run - 37.3838
- Hartland Bridge No. 4 (1924) Elk River & B & O Railroad - 43.2152
- J. C. Cruikshank Memorial (1939) Elk River - 29.5282
- Church St. Bridge (1916) Courthouse Branch - 24.93.62
- Indian Fork Truss (1910) Sand Fork - 22.0322
- Crane Run Truss (1925) Cove Creek - 26.0257
- Troy Bridge (1938) Cove Creek - 20.4898
- Spruce Run Truss (1898) Leading Creek - 40.3341
- Wellington Double Arch (1920) Spring Creek - 15.4100
- Rocksdale Bridge (1889) West Fork of LK - 18.6813
- Flat Fork Arch Bridge (1920) Flat Fk/Poca River - 47.2886
- Cotton Arch (1920) Left Hand Run (1920) 35.1651
- Tariff Arch (1927) Henry's Fork - 47.0383
- Canoe Run Road Bridge (1969) Henry's Fork - 45.5780
- Grannie's Creek I Beam (1960) Grannies Creek - 46.2995
- Big Sandy Arch (1928) Big Sandy Creek - 49.43.94
- Pocatalico Road Truss (1899) Poca River - 17.5445
- Pocatalico River (1910) Poca River - 40.3349
- Looneyville Arch (1900) Poca River - 24.9873
- McKown Creek Arch (1907) McKown's Creek - 29.4026
- Lowes Run Arch (1919) Rt. Fk. Spring Creek - 34.2378
- Whiting Electric Arch (1920) Rt. Fk. Spring Creek - 7.0000
- Davis Auto Arch (1920) Rt. Fk. Spring Creek - 33.5860
- Meter Arch (1918) Rt. Fk. Spring Creek - 7.0000
- Sayre Farm Bridge (1979) Little Spring Creek - 38.2829
- S. Market Street Bridge (1925) Spring Creek - 19.8088
- N. Market Street Bridge (1923) Spring Creek - 35.2121
- Hushers Run Road Arch (1915) Bonds Creek - 23.9292
- Slab Creek Pony Truss (1909) Slab Creek - 37.3376
- Arnolds Arch Bridge (1916) Indian Creek - 22.9326
- Otterslide Truss (1913) Middle Fk. Hughes River - 22.7450
- Rush Run T-Bridge (1914) Rush Run - 22.9681
- Addis Run Arch (1912) Addis Run - 21.8909
- Oxbow Bridge (1931) So. Fk. Hughes River - 31.1718
- Little Fonzo Bridge (1908) Grassy Run - 35.2184
- Burton Run Arch 2 (1912) N. Fk. Hughes River - 47.2275
- Gnat Run Arch (1914) N. Fk. Hughes River - 48.0517
- Big Fonzo Bridge (1907) S. Fk. Hughes River - 18.9203
- Slab Creek Arch (1916) Slab Creek - 46.6930
- Nutter Farm Bridge (1938) Goose Creek - 33.5800
- Leatherbark Creek Arch (1912) Leatherbark Creek - 24.5920
- Myers Fork Bridge (1979) Myers Fk. Goose Creek - 18.0000
- Spring Creek Truss (1889) Spring Creek - 16.8525
* It was difficult to obtain the bridge ratings, which should be readily available public information, and was once freely accessed from the bridge engineer in charge of the district, but in this instance required a Freedom of Information request to Charleston.