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Residents express safety concerns during bridge closure

CITY OF BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) Bluefield residents are requesting a timeline for when the Grant Street Bridge will be reopened, after being closed down by the city last week.

The West Virginia Division of Highways identified major structural deficiencies with the bridge, prompting city officials to shut it down, citing safety concerns.

“We found out about holes underneath the bridge, so it’s not something that just happened,” said Deloris French, a long-time resident of Bluefield.

“We are wondering when the bridge is going to be repaired,” said Theodore Curtis, a property owner in Bluefield.

Many residents are forced to take an alternate route, which some are describing as “inconvenient.”

“I’m handicapped,” said French. “It’s a nuisance for me because I have someone transporting me and it takes an additional amount of time.”

City officials say they’re working to ensure emergency responders have faster access to their neighborhoods.

“We’ve coordinated with Norfolk Southern to have access to their roads on the railroad,” said City Manager Dane Rideout. “But it’s for emergency purposes only, to respond even more quickly to those areas.”

“We know it’s going to take some time because it’s a safety issue,” said Theodore Curtis, property owner in Bluefield. “But we want to be able to reach out to downtown Bluefield like the rest of the community.”

The Grant Street Bridge is owned by the City of Bluefield and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Jennifer Roberts

Multimedia Journalist

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