- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—BLUEFIELD — The new Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge is starting to look like a bridge again.

Huge panels were raised and then lowered into place Monday as work on replacing the former Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge continued. Many of the new bridge’s parts were fabricated ahead of time before being transported to the construction site, Tom Camden, supervisor for District 10, state Department of Highways, said.

“It’s my understanding that most of the (deck) panels have been delivered,” Camden said. “As you can probably tell, the panels are being brought in already cast. That’s one of the thing that was done obviously to try and speed up the project.”

The project’s contractor, Triton Construction, has a lot of experience with bridge construction, Camden said. Several U.S. Route 460 bridges were built by the same company.

“They have a lot of experience with bridge work,” he said. “The panels still have to be put in their final position, and they will have to be tensioned.”

The tension process involves stretching cables through the panels and pulling them together.

“It’s a pretty impressive process when they tension those things and pull them together into place,” Camden said. “They did some of these bridge decks on (Route) 460 and they’re very good at it.”

A completion date is not set, but there are hopes the new span will be open soon.

“At the moment, we’re hoping for right around the first of September,” Camden said.

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(c)2015 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.)

Visit the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.) at bdtonline.com

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