Memorial Bridge work begins Monday

PARKERSBURG – Folks who cross the Memorial Bridge as part of their daily travels will have to find an alternate route starting Monday.

The span will be closed completely to allow a $182,000 maintenance project that includes replacement of an expansion joint and approximately 400 square feet of concrete deck to be completed.

The work is expected to be done in time for the bridge to reopen prior to the start of the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival on Aug. 15, even though flashing signs placed by the city on either end of the bridge say the closure will last until Aug. 17.

“We’ll be done by the 15th,” City Engineer Justin Smith said. “That’s just a precaution.”

The contract Charleston-based Teays River Construction Co. has for the work gives it two weeks, but Smith said it will not take that long to finish the work.

“We’ll have it open for Homecoming,” he said.

Smith has previously said the bridge would be open to traffic during the festival even if the work wasn’t done, with a plate providing passage over unfinished portions.

“Barring a tornado or something, they plan on having it done,” Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said. “It would have to be something that would stop the work for several days” to impact Homecoming.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin has recommended that people whose routes will be affected by the closure give themselves extra time to get to their destination.

City police will likely have an increased presence in the downtown area as more traffic is rerouted to the Belpre Bridge, but he does not expect many problems.