The Benton Ferry Bridges were a pair of steel arch structures that carried Interstate 79 over the Tygart River in Pleasant Valley, West Virginia.
The Benton Ferry Bridges were a pair of steel arch structures that carried Interstate 79 over the Tygart River and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Pleasant Valley, West Virginia.
In March 1960, discussions for a Fairmont bypass led to plans for the construction of WV Route 73, 8 a new two-lane route connecting US Route 250 in White Hall with Secondary Route 64 at Benton Ferry. 7 This route included constructing a bridge over the Tygart River and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. 8 Concurrently, plans for a north-south freeway from the Pennsylvania state line at Mt. Morris to Beckley began, with surveying initiated by March. 3
In August, the State Road Commission awarded a $659,420 contract to S. S. (Joe) Burford Inc. of Huntington for constructing the Benton Ferry Bridge (No. 1735) to carry WV Route 73. 6 The bridge was to feature a steel arch main span and 13 continuous steel girder spans.
November 1961 saw the first public hearings for Interstate 79. 4 Despite initial plans by the state that called for the highway to stretch from Weston to Beckley, federal approval shifted the southern terminus to Charleston. 11 The under-construction Benton Ferry Bridge was incorporated into this new route, later becoming the northbound section of Interstate 79. 4 In 1963, plans for a second bridge at the site for southbound Interstate 79 emerged, 9 with the construction contract awarded to Jarvis, Downing & Emsk, Inc. of Clarksburg for $182,467. 12
The southbound bridge was completed in 1966, marking the designation of the finished four-lane highway as Interstate 79. 1
In 1993-95, the Benton Ferry Bridges underwent rehabilitation. 10 This involved replacing the deck and floor system, repairing the spandrel column, bent, and arch rib of the main span, rehabilitating the approach spans’ floor system and redecking, modifying the abutments, and repairing the substructure’s thrust block and bent foundations. Roadway approach work was also part of the rehabilitation.
In 2022, 2 the West Virginia Department of Transportation initiated a project to widen Interstate 79 to three lanes in each direction across the Tygart River as part of an ongoing project to widen the highway between Clarksburg and Morgantown. 1 2 The $72.5 million project to replace the Benton Ferry Bridges was awarded to the Swank Construction Company of Pennsylvania.
To support this construction, a temporary bridge was built to allow for the positioning of cranes and facilitating the movement of equipment across the river. 2
The southbound Benton Ferry Bridge was imploded on March 22, 2023. 1
- State: West Virginia
- Route: Interstate 79
- Type: Steel Arch
- Status: Demolished - Replaced
- Total Length: 880'
- Main Span Length: 330'
- Spans: 42'×5; 37'; 43'; 46'×4; 39'×2
- Deck Width: 35'×2
- Roadway Width: 32'×2
- “I-79 Widening Project Milestone: Fairmont White Hall Bridge Implosion.” West Virginia Department of Transportation, 23 Mar. 2023.
- Ruggiero, Brenda. “Swank Construction Leads $73M I-79 Widening Project.” Construction Equipment Guide, 7 Sept. 2023.
- “State Eying N-S Highway.” Raleigh Register, 15 Mar. 1960, pp. 1-8.
- “Proposed ’79’ Route Meets With Approval.” Charleston Daily Mail, 9 Nov. 1961, p. 11.
- “SRC Outlines North-South Link Plans.” Charleston Daily Mail, 22 Mar 1961, pp. 1-10.
- “State Road Low Bidders Listed.” Raleigh Register, 23 Aug. 1960, p. 1.
- Hinton Daily News, 24 Mar. 1960, p. 5.
- “Benton Ferry Bridge Approaches.” State Highway Commission, 1960.
- “I-79-3(4)-150;F-155(12).” State Highway Commission, 1963.
- “Bentons Ferry Brdges.” West Virginia Department of Transportation, 1993.
- “First of 3 Public Meets Set Today on N-S Highway.” Beckley Post-Herald, 8 Nov. 1961, p. 1.
- “Road Construction Bids Are Received.” Beckley Post-Herald, 25 Nov. 1964, p. 1.