|By Bob Weaver|
The long endangered Egypt Ridge Bridge at Rocksdale across the West Fork of the Little Kanawha River is being replaced this year, according to Rusty Roten, District Engineer of the West Virginia Department of Highways.
Roten told the Herald that the district office designed and developed the plans for a contract replacement of the existing truss structure, built in 1889.
The structure has been posted at 3 tons for several years.
The project was advertised for bids on May 15, 2018. Opening of the bids in Charleston should occur later this month with awarding to the winning contractor shortly after that.
Roten said, "We have it tentatively scheduled for a start date in July, 2018 with completion by the end of December, 2018. We’re funding it by 80%/20% (Fed/State) cost share."
EGYPT RIDGE BRIDGE AT ROCKSDALE - A Test Of Time, Wearing Thin After 129 Years
The Egypt Ridge Bridge is a rusty affair,
still being used after 129 years
By Bob Weaver
It was a sight to behold in the late 1800s, a steel girder bridge crossing the West Fork of the Little Kanawha at Rocksdale. The bridge was built in 1889.
Rocksdale-Hassig-Richardson were busy little farm communities.
Fascinatingly, the steel truss bridge was built years before Grantsville got a bridge about 1914.
At long last, lower forkers could cross the river with their wagons, automobiles and trucks and travel narrow the curvaceous Egypt Ridge to the City of Spencer, but most importantly to drive or truck cattle and livestock to the Spencer livestock sale.
During the last century the bridge was used as a high jump into the swimming hole at the confluence of Henry's Fork and the West Fork, a dangerous idea now that the depth of the water has declined.
Generations have used the swimmin' hole, area residents still come to the spot to camp and fish during summer days.
The bridge has long been on the most endangered bridge list, although it was reworked a time or two.
A concrete marker, used before modern road signs,
still stands near the Egypt Ridge Bridge,
The only alternative to travel to Spencer is the low-water "submarine" just above the bridge, connecting Henry's Fork Road with Calhoun and Roane.
The Henry's Fork Road meanders along the Roane line to US 33-119 at the Corder Bridge, which crosses into Roane County.
Locals continue to say that are waiting for the day when news will spread that a car or truck has crashed into the river, the bridge collapsing.
Meanwhile, it stands erect after all these years.