TERRA ALTA, W.Va. – Residents and officials in Preston County are voicing their frustration over the reconstruction of a bridge.
The CSX bridge in Terra Alta has been closed for over four years now. Back in 2017, it was deemed unsafe and blocked off. There were plans to rebuild it and reopen it, but nothing was ever finalized.
Now, residents are bringing the issue back to light. Some residents sent a petition to the Preston County Commission wanting the bridge to be reopened.
“I think it’s quite appropriate that this should be something that’s on the front, not be placed on the back burner like it has been for the last few years,” said Don Smith, President of Preston County Commission. “It should be in the front because this is a problem and, it’s going to become more of an issue, it already is an issue, it’s going to become a bigger and bigger issue.”
Without the bridge, people only have one other access point to cross the train tracks to get to the other side of town. But that access point isn’t a bridge and when the train comes people can’t cross the tracks. Smith said without immediate access to the other side of town all the time, it could be a problem in emergencies.
Now Smith is hoping the state will make a plan.
On July 20, there will be a vote on the potential funding for the project. But as of right now it will be paid for by the people of West Virginia.
“West Virginia taxpayers are paying for it as opposed to CSX so I don’t know where or how we can somehow get back to where CSX is paying for part of this again like they originally agreed to,” Smith said.
Agreed to at a meeting in 2017 that Smith attended. However, there was never anything in writing that said CSX would pay for any bridge repairs.
We’ve reached out to the West Virginia Division of Highways for a comment on the bridge and they haven’t yet responded.