Removal of tarps reveals blue Fort Henry Bridge
WHEELING — After more than a year of a two-toned Fort Henry Bridge, the eastbound side of the structure finally matches the westbound side.
On Sunday, North Star Painting Company of Youngstown, Ohio, began removing the large containment tarps that have covered the bridge’s eastbound side while they finished sandblasting and painting over the remaining faded green sections of the bridge. While the westbound side of the Fort Henry Bridge arch was painted a bright royal blue hue last summer, the eastbound side had remained a faded green.
A few areas in the center of the bridge that require some final touch-ups, but crews are in the final phases of the project that began last summer on the westbound side of the structure as part of the ongoing I-70 Bridges Project in Ohio County, according to West Virginia Division of Highways District 6 Construction Engineer Mike Witherow.
Witherow said with the removal of the large tarps, motorists can expect to see North Star crews soon begin taking down the massive rigging system on the bridge. Crews could be seen throughout the day Monday loading many of the heavy containment tarps onto the back of semi-tractor trailers.
As the Fort Henry painting project enters the final phases, Witherow said DOH officials expect the eastbound section of I-70 at the Fulton Bridges to reopen in the next week or two — nearly a month ahead of schedule.
“We’re still trying to finalize the plans,” Witherow said. “It’s still a little bit of a moving target, but if everything works out it (eastbound Fulton Bridge) should open this week or next, and then the Main Street exit (from the Fort Henry Bridge) will close shortly thereafter.”
The I-70 East off-ramp from the Fort Henry is scheduled for renovations as part of the I-70 Bridges Project. While Swank Construction has up to 120 days to complete renovations on the off-ramp, Witherow said DOH officials are hopeful the work may finish a little ahead of schedule.