Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

November 21, 2011

Virginia’s tallest bridge going up near Grundy

GRUNDY, Va. — When construction planning began on the U.S. Route 460 Connector, officials with the Virginia Department of Transporta-tion had no idea they would be bringing the Common-wealth’s tallest bridge to Buchanan County.

The Grassy Creek Bridge will be more than 250 feet high and almost a mile long when completed, helping to achieve the ultimate goal of the $90 million U.S. Route 460 Connector project by linking the Hawk’s Nest section of Buchanan County to the Coalfield’s Expressway.

Michelle Earl, acting public affairs manager with VDOT’s Bristol District, said the area’s mountainous terrain is what made building such a tall bridge necessary.

“The bridge is needed for the connection to Kentucky,” Earl said. “It wasn’t our original goal to have the tallest bridge, but it worked out in Buchanan County because of all the mountainous terrain. The Appalachian Regional Commission has really backed and promoted this project as a way of expanding economic access in the area.”

VDOT officials are giving residents a glimpse into the construction of the state’s tallest bridge through an online camera, according to Mandy Cox, VDOT project manager for the Route 460 Connector.

“The bridge camera has been up for several weeks and will record the progress of the project from start to finish,” Cox said. “It’s exciting to be able to watch the tallest bridge in Virginia take shape day by day. The camera takes photos about every 10 minutes from a location just south of the construction site. This will provide the opportunity to view the project in a time-lapse sequence from the day the camera was installed to the present.”

Other aspects of the U.S. Route 460 Connector project include an eight-mile four-lane divided highway and an access ramp to Route 80 improving entry to the Breaks Interstate Park in Buchanan County. The connector will also ultimately link the federally designated Corridor Q in Virginia with Corridor Q in Kentucky, part of the Appalachian Development Highway System.   

 VDOT estimated completion on the bridge project will continue through January 2013 and have advised motorists on Route 610 and Route 80 in the Breaks, Va., area to be cautious of ongoing construction and equipment traffic.

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com

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