Thorn St. Bridge

PRINCETON — The main bridge which connects sections of Princeton with each other will finally replaced within the next few years, the West Virginia Division of Highways District 10 office said this week.

District 10 Bridge Engineer Joshua Anderson said Tuesday, “(In December at a meeting at the Princeton Railroad Museum), we held an on-site review of the plans to replace(the Thorn Street Railroad Bridge) where we reviewed the consultant’s (Burgess & Niple of Parkersburg) plan.”

Among the issues discussed at the meeting, he said, were stages of construction, lighting, utility access, traffic access and pedestrian access.

“If we can see any problems on paper or in the field, we could adjust it to make everything is the way we need it to go,” he said.

The project, Anderson added, is currently in office review, where the consultant’s revised plans are being reviewed by the DOH. Once that is done, the process of buying the right-of-way, getting environmental reports and relocating utilities will be the next priorities.

“We have estimated dates of December 28, 2020 to October 28, 2022 for right-of-way purchases and an estimated construction start date of January 28, 2023. We estimate that construction will take 18 months to two years,” Anderson said.

The current 547-foot long span was built in 1947 by J.M. Francesca & Company of Fayetteville to replace a wooden bridge located north of it. The new bridge would become the third in the general vicinity in history.

“(The current plan is for) us to build the bridge where it currently is while maintaining traffic and pedestrian access,” he said.

The financing for the project will come from Turnpike bonds.

“It’s a good project for Princeton,” he said.

Anderson said the bronze plaques at the ends of the current bridge will be donated to the Mercer County Historical Society upon completion of the new bridge.

Princeton City Manager Mike Webb said, “We look forward to the replacement of the bridge. It is a vital artery in the revival of Mercer Street.”

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter for the Princeton Times. Contact him at delimartman@yahoo.com.

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