Southside Group Contribution Develops New Designs for Bridge Replacement | New
HUNTINGTON – Two new models of bridges will reflect the history of the structures, thanks to the civic involvement of a neighborhood organization.
The Southside Preservation and Enhancement Alliance Inc. of Huntington recently confirmed the final design of the 5th and 8th Street bridge replacements. The designs are different from what was initially proposed, as the new plan reflects the historical aspect of the bridges.
The Alliance started as a group of neighbors in the city’s Southside neighborhood who wanted to be more active in securing improvements and implementing community goals, said Dan Gooding, president of the Alliance. The bridges project caught the group’s attention after learning of the updated plan from the West Virginia Highways Division.
The bridges serve as bookends for the neighborhood and are often one of the first landmarks one can see upon entering Huntington. They are not only of interest to the Southside community, but also to first-time visitors to Huntington.
The DOH held a meeting to get public comment on the bridges in 2017. The group said the initial designs did not reflect the historic design of the bridges, which dates back to the 1920s. Alliance members have contacted officials. local and national to see if changes could be made to incorporate elements reminiscent of the bridges past.
Thanks to the work between the Alliance, the DOH and the city, the current design has been found. It features nods to historic designs, with modernized improvements. For example, the new bridges will not be supported by concrete arches, but instead will have steel I-beams hidden behind a concrete facade to support increased weight.
Projects are expected to start later this year or around early 2022.
Alliance Bridge Committee Chairman Alan Caudill said he has lived in Huntington since 2004. He is an engineer and has researched what previous bridge designs looked like and how they might fit to the requirements of modern bridges.
The intentional design signals to the viewer that Huntington is an important place for many, Caudill said.
“You feel like, ‘Hey, I’m somewhere special,’ when you see this bridge because it’s not a normal standard road bridge,” Caudill said. “It’s a beautiful architectural element. It just catches your eye.
Chuck Chambers, who is on the Alliance Bridge Committee, said he brought his knowledge of state government to the group, which helped them reach the right people to share the point of view with. of the group. Chambers is a former Speaker of the House in West Virginia. He said that while he did not personally know some key officials who ended up helping the Alliance with the project, his insight helped the group find these people.
If local residents are ready to work together, they can make a difference, Chambers said.
“It’s satisfying to get involved in a local community effort,” he said.
McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @mckennahorsley.