Ices Ferry Farewell
Old bridge’s dismantling starts Monday
Morgantown Dominion Post
21 July 2012
By Evelyn Ryan
Workers continue to make progress on the new
bridge over Cheat Lake while the old Ices Ferry Bridge is in its
final days. Crews are expected to dismantle then drop the
structure starting Monday. Ron Rittenhouse/Dominion Post
Piece by piece, starting Monday, the old Ices Ferry Bridge over
Cheat Lake will be taken apart and removed.
The West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) said Friday
construction crews will start by removing portions of the old
bridge’s rusted steel deck grid.
The bridge was closed to traffic in May 2011, when Brayman
Construction began work on the new structure, located next to the
old one. The $12.5 million new bridge is expected to be completed
by Oct. 31, weather permitting.
People on foot and bikers have continued to use the old bridge,
built in 1922, to cross the lake.
That won’t be possible starting Monday, noted Jason Nelson, DOH
District 4 construction engineer.
“They are going to being cutting off and removing non-structural
components of the old bridge the first of next week,” he said.
Work will continue on the new bridge, he said. Plans are to begin
putting in the deck sometime in the next 10 days or so.
Once the demolition starts, and the contractor determines what
shape the old bridge is in, plans for the rest of the demolition
will be developed.
“They will use explosives to break the bridge apart, into usable
sections,” Nelson said. It won’t be as spectacular as the Star
City Bridge demolition.
“They are basically going to blast, drop it into the water (about
10 feet). That’s it.”
Crews prepare the new bridge to receive
concrete, which should be poured later this month. Ron
Workers will cut the steel at the abutments and other key areas so
it can drop quickly. The sections will be further cut into pieces
so they can quickly be removed from the lake, he added, “so as to
not block the lake more than they have to.”
Although the contract calls for the bridge to be completed by Oct.
31, First Energy begins lowering the lake to its winter level
DOH officials said the water level on Cheat Lake will be too low
in the fall to support the barges used during construction. The
dry, hot weather has affected the lake level, however.
“We have enough water depth right now,” Nelson said, “but it is
low, according to our guys, as low as it can go for summer pool.”
The lake is created by the Lake Lynn Power Plant, owned by First
Energy. Todd Meyers, a First Energy spokesman, said the plant
manager reported that because of the dry months, the level has
been hovering at 868 feet above sea level. That’s the minimum
requirement for recreation on the lake.
“It’s a balancing act because we are also trying to generate power
there as well,” Meyers said, to meet “the power demand in the
northeast from the hot weather.”
At 868 feet, there shouldn’t be any trouble with the barges.
The lake itself is deepest in front of the dam, 75-90 feet. At the
bridge construction site, it is 20-25 feet deep, he noted.