In a two-day blitz over the weekend, West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) bridge crews will build a temporary bridge over a large sinkhole on WV 20 in Hinton until permanent repairs can be made to a collapsed drainage structure under the road.
“The bridge we’re putting together comes with somewhere between zero and infinity number of bolts, and we sit and attach every one,” said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of District Operations. “During those two days, if you drive by that area, you will see as many DOH uniforms as you can imagine.”
Pack said bridge crews from the WVDOH central office in Charleston, District 9, and District 10 intend to install the temporary bridge over the weekend of Friday, Nov. 18. The 125-foot bridge will be long enough to span the existing hole, even if the hole gets bigger before contractors can replace the collapsed drainage structure.
Detour during construction will be WV 3 (Hinton to Shady Spring), US 19 (Shady Spring to Beaver), WV 307 (Beaver to Airport Road), Interstate 64 (Airport Road to Sandstone), and WV 20 (Sandstone to Hinton).
In June, a sinkhole about six feet wide and about 30 feet deep opened on WV 20 next to the Hinton police station. Pack said a 90-year-old drain under the road began failing, leading to the collapse.
WVDOH work crews installed a 120-foot temporary culvert and fill material under the road, but heavy rains from Hurricane Nicole on Friday, Nov. 11, washed out the fill and made the sinkhole worse.
Pack said that, while construction plans for a permanent repair have been hampered by the discovery of toxic levels of lead on site, WVDOH has come up with an alternate plan to repair the sinkhole without endangering the public, contractors or WVDOH work crews.
Pack said the WVDOH intends to complete plans to install a 300-foot steel drainage structure under the area and put a contract out to bid by the end of the year.