HINTON, (Hinton News) – Over the weekend, West Virginia Department of Highways crews constructed a bridge near the culvert collapse on Route 20. Work began at 7 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, requiring the road to shut down. The intention was to have the road back open at 7 a.m. Monday; however, the crews worked tirelessly and were able to open the area shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The bridge is a temporary solution to keep the path safe until crews can complete a more permanent repair. Concerns abounded in the community regarding the safety of the road after heavy rain caused the hole to expand.
When the hole first opened in June, it measured approximately six feet wide and 30 feet deep. The 90-year-old drain began to fail, which ultimately led to the collapse.
DOH crews installed a 120-foot temporary culvert and fill material under the road to stabilize the situation. Unfortunately, rain from Hurricane Nicole caused the fill material to wash out, and the collapse expanded under the building and across a large portion of the road. According to Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of District Operations, further repairs were delayed due to toxic levels of lead at the site.
Many parents were concerned due to Route 20 being the path to Summers County Comprehensive High School, which instructs grades six through 12. Additionally, several younger students travel that road to the elementary school.
According to a statement from WVDOH, bridge construction crews came from the Central Office in Charleston, Districts 9 and 10. The bridge spans 125 feet. This length covers the existing hole and provides a buffer for potential expansion. Pack said WVDOH intends to complete plans for a 300-foot drainage system to be installed under the area. He further stated that they plan to put a contract out to bid by the end of the year.
Hinton News will continue to provide updates on the long-term project.